MOUNT ZION - Cara Filler's identical twin sister, Mairin, made the wrong call on the day after their 18th birthday.
She got into the car with her boyfriend, and she stayed in the car when his reckless speeding went over 100 mph.
"I watched them rip the car apart to get my sister out," Filler told Mount Zion High School students Thursday. "I was in the car behind them."
The boyfriend was fined $106 and spent 15 days in jail for dangerous driving, but Mairin will never come home again.
Now married and mother to a 5-year-old son, Cara Filler spends some 200 days a year on the road speaking about making good choices and taking acceptable risks.
"You've got to take risks," Filler said. "That's how you learn."
However, getting into a car with someone who is drunk, on drugs or simply reckless is not a risk anyone should take, she said, and she had tips for teens who may find it difficult to be assertive. She calls them the "Three Ps," ways to get the driver to stop and let you out.
n The first: Tell the driver you have to pee, and if necessary, squirm.
n The second: Say you think you're going to puke.
"Lean forward and hold your breath," she said. "When your face changes color, go ahead and drool down the side of your mouth."
That got a big laugh, but she said it will convince the driver.
n The third only applies to girls and she promised it would work on any male. Tell them your period has started and you don't have a tampon.
Senior Sami Lynch, vice president of Mount Zion's Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter, was misty eyed through much of the talk.
"I've seen her speak three times," Lynch said, "and I teared up every time because it's just so compelling."
SADD sponsored Filler's visit, which included an evening session for parents and community. Club sponsor Cecelia Hicks said SADD also educates teens on good decision-making in other areas, such as dating.
The members of the chapter saw Filler at a conference and wanted her to speak at their school not only for National Safety Week this week, but as a preview of Red Ribbon Week activities next week.
"It makes you think it could happen to you, and you have to think about the choices you're making," said Jennifer Kappenman, president of the SADD chapter.