Local News

Runners remember Raleigh teen killed by drunk driver

Posted January 11, 2009 11:33 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— Runners hit the pavement Sunday in honor of a Wakefield High School student who died in an alcohol-related crash.

Sadiki Young, 18, was killed on Jan. 13, 2007, when the Ford Escort in which he was riding crashed on Wakefield Plantation Drive near Village Spring Road.

About 500 runners took part in Sunday's second annual “Run for Young,” which was created to raise awareness about the dangers of drunken driving.

“It's really sad when you think about it,” said Alex Krisulewicz, Run for Young organizer.

For Krisulewicz, the Run for Young started out as a high school project. It has become a learning experience for him and his peers.

“I've learned to sort of appreciate what you've got and that no one is invincible. And you really have to be careful and make the right choices because it could happen to anyone,” Krisulewicz said.

Runners with whom WRAL News spoke with were mindful of the cause.

“I'm a teacher as well. It's just great to get out here and support such a cause,” said Brian Dotson, who was first to cross the finish line Sunday.

“Sadiki was a young man that had a big light,” said Dr. Rosemarie Newman, Young's mother.

Newman said she hopes events like this will help other families avoid the heartache her family has endured.

“You will never know whose life you saved by just speaking out, by just being attentive,” she said. “That's really what we lose –  this life of great potential that we'll never know what they could have done for us and our world."

Driver Christopher John Palmeri, 18, pleaded guilty in August 2007 to involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving.

Investigators said Palmeri had a blood-alcohol level of 0.06, but that speed was the primary factor in the crash. Palmeri had been driving at 72 mph at the time of the accident, they determined.

Since Young's death, Newman has spoken regularly with high school students about the consequences of drunken driving.

Race proceeds go to a local church youth fund and Wakefield High School's "Think First" program.