Hensley recently described how he wandered around the scene of a deadly car
crash searching for his son, Cody. He begged emergency personnel to help him
find his teenage boy as they were scrambling to help the victims of the one-car
an hour of watching as survivors were hauled away in ambulances, first
responders took the McKinney father to the open field where his son was laying,
“The chaplain had walked over and said, ‘Sorry
I have to tell you this, but Cody didn’t make it,’” Hensley recalled. “I see
him there lifeless, and all I can do is say, ‘Cody, please get up. Cody, please
come with us.’ But he didn’t. Because he was laying in the middle of a field.
Off Monte Carlo Road. Under a white blanket. Dead.”
But this father’s agony was just beginning.
“I still have to walk a hundred yards to the truck
and tell my wife,” Hensley said. “And I have to explain to a young girl that
her brother is not coming home. Ever. Then I have to plan a funeral. We still
have to deal with grief. Especially during every holiday. His birthday. Or when
we hear a song that reminds us of him.”
the details of this father’s story are tragic, he used the opportunity to share
with teenagers at Princeton High School regarding the dangers of getting in the
car with someone who was drunk. Hensley was speaking on behalf of Mother’s
Against Drunk Drivers as part of “Shattered Dreams,” and the accident he
described occurred in 2015 and also claimed the life of PHS senior, Stephen
Princeton Fire Department has presented “Shattered Dreams” seven times in the
last decade, repeating the program every other year to send a strong message to
the juniors and seniors attending prom, and this year’s drunk driving
re-enactment really hit home.
“Shattered Dreams” speakers never try to soften the tragic consequences because
they are there to make an indelible impact on the minds of the kids before they
make their own choices.
Hensley reminds PHS that his son is gone because
of a decision.
“We are all defined by the choices we make,” he
said. “Drinking and driving is a choice. And it has a dead end. One in two
people are affected by drinking and driving, and it is 100 percent preventable.
You don't want to end up like myself, so please make the right choices.”
The crash scenario had another chilling
reminder, as the Jeep used in “Shattered Dreams” was from a wreck just a few
short weeks ago.
“We want to prevent this scenario from
happening by making an impact on the students,” said fire Capt. Steve Gammons,
who organized the effort with fellow firefighter Kristi Thornton. “The Grand
Cherokee used in today’s simulation was the vehicle from a local wreck where
the kid was texting and driving.”
Dreams” is the joint effort of several entities, including Princeton fire and
police departments, AMR, MADD and Lowry Crossing fire department. In addition,
PHS students saw recent graduates Cammie Chandler and Brandon Ferguson in
action as they volunteered with the fire department.
community members donated their time and services to make “Shattered Dreams”
come alive. First Choice Towing provided the wrecked vehicles. PHI landed its medical
chopper, and Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow funeral directors were on site with the
“I responded to the call the night Cody lost
his life,” Police Chaplain James Stephens said. “Having to respond to a major
fatality is not something I like to do. I don’t want to tell families their son
or daughter is dead. We hope something we've said sticks in your heart because
you need to know how final it is. Leave the booze alone. Put the phone down. Don't
make me have to do my job.”
the students understand the program is designed to scare kids into making good
choices, it remains effective because they are hearing what has happened to people
right in their own town.
thought it was really good,” junior Hunter Worthy said. “It definitely made an
impact, and I even cried a little.”
nature of “Shattered Dreams” touches the hearts of the students who witness the
scene and hear from those touched by drunk driving accidents.
“It made me cry, and I had chills when I heard about the car
being from the wreck with the teen texting,” senior Alex Adams said. “It makes
you really think. When someone tells us something, we don’t really think about
it. But when they show us what it’s all about, it makes it real. We don’t just
think, but we see.”