A mother's goal: More awareness Her son, 18, was killed by a drunk driver in May. For information A mother's goal: More awareness

Posted: December 09, 2001

KENNETT SQUARE — It was exactly 2:06 a.m. on May 6 when Connie Logan's phone rang and woke her up. The news was terrible.

A nurse from Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., said Logan's son had been in a car accident. The nurse said his condition was "very serious" and that she should come right away.

When Logan arrived at the hospital, she learned that her son, Cameron, 18, was dead. He was killed in an accident with a teenage drunk driver.

"They always say that getting a call in the morning is a mother's worst nightmare," said Logan, 52, a Kennett Square schoolteacher. "It's the hardest thing anyone could live through - you often wonder if you will live through it."

Losing her son has motivated Logan to spread the word about the dangers of drinking and driving, which kills more than 16,000 people a year nationwide, according to officials at Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

In coming months, Logan is planning to address schoolchildren in Kennett Square, speak at MADD panels in Delaware and Chester Counties, and go before any other group that invites her to speak.

She said she does not want to become a zealot for the cause. But the memories of losing her son have inspired her to talk about drunk driving, especially among teenagers.

"It's time for a change, time for people to be more aware," she said.

Just last Sunday, four former students from

Pennridge High School in Bucks County died in a car crash in West Rockhill Township in which investigators believe alcohol may have been involved.

"It's such a shame," Logan said.

Wanting to share stories about losing loved ones can be therapeutic, said Diane Kelly, victim advocate for MADD's Delaware County chapter.

"When you can turn a tragedy into something positive, it helps you heal," she said.

In Logan's case, there is still healing to be done.

Cameron Logan was on his way to his father's home in Delaware after a date with his girlfriend when the accident occurred.

Logan's car was stopped at a light at Route 202 and Murphy Road outside Wilmington when it was struck by a car driven by Catherine Ryan, 19, of Wilmington, police said. Ryan was driving under the influence of alcohol, court documents said.

On Nov. 28, Ryan was found guilty of vehicular homicide in Delaware Superior Court. Before she was given a five-year sentence - three years in prison, two years under house arrest - she told the court that she accepted responsibility for the accident and admitted to making "bad choices."

Connie Logan addressed the court before the sentencing.

"We must use the laws of the state of Delaware to send a message: We are at war with those who terrorize our roads. Drinking and driving will not be tolerated," she said.

So goes Logan's message. Logan, who teaches gifted students in the Kennett Area School District, will likely address students at West Chester University and drunk-driving offenders as part of their rehabilitation, said Kelly of MADD. Kelly said MADD provided speakers to various programs around the region so at-risk youths can hear personal stories about drunk driving.

"People really react to a mother coming in and sharing her pain," Kelly said.

According to MADD, 16,653 people died nationally in alcohol-related traffic crashes last year. An estimated 630,000 people are injured each year in alcohol-related crashes. There were 618 people killed in Pennsylvania in alcohol-related accidents last year.

"If just one person thinks before they drive drunk, then maybe one life will be saved," Logan said.

Cameron Logan was an emerging writer and an avid snowboarder, his mother said, who was planning to travel before attending college at the University of Maryland. He dreamed of snowboarding out West, and in more exotic locations such as Chile and New Zealand.

John Fisher, principal at Salesianum High School in Wilmington, taught Latin to Cameron Logan when he was a student there and recalled that he picked it up quickly.

"He was a very gifted student, a prolific writer," Fisher said. "The sad part of it is that this boy should be on a college campus right now arguing with professors about the meaning of life."

Jonathan Gelb's e-mail address is jgelb@phillynews.com.

To contact Connie Logan, call 610-268-1400 or e-mail clogan@kcsd.org.

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