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Teen's death leaves mom asking for new laws
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Teen's death leaves mom asking for new laws

Teen's death leaves mom asking for new laws
Photo Credit: Russell Mills

Teen's death leaves mom asking for new laws

Donna Kerns doesn't make any excuses for her son Colton,  who died in an alcohol-induced wreck at the young age of 17.

He knew he'd done wrong, he knew he was going to be in trouble, but what led him to be behind that wheel instead of home getting yelled at by angry parents is a story that may leave parents wondering if it could happen to their youngsters.

In April of 2012, Colton was getting ready for prom. He went to pick up his rented tux, then drove out to a liquor store on Monkey Island near where he lived in Ottawa County.

The clerk at the store, investigation has revealed. sold him vodka without even asking for an I.D.

Donna says surveillance videos from the Woodshed liquor store document the clerks selling Colton and other underaged customers alcohol.

One of those clerks, Stacey Dixon, 47, faces charges in Ottawa County for furnishing alcohol to a person under 21.

Then things went from bad to worse.

Colton went to the high school to help with prom decorations, Donna says. He took the half gallon of vodka with him to share with his friends.

He got caught, and the superintendent apparently confronted the teen and ordered him to leave immediately, and that he was expelled.

"They took Colton's keys and they gave them to his friend and said 'get him off our property,' but there's no law. They didn't even call police, but by law they don't have to," she told KRMG in an exclusive interview.

"He was two times the legal limit, and they sent him off," she continued. "I just wish I could have been there. We were out looking for him but we never found him."

Colton had called them to confess that he was in trouble, before he left the school.

"He told us that he got in trouble. He was in the parking lot," she said. "He said 'daddy, I got in trouble.' And we said 'stay there son, we're on our way,' and he said 'no, I have to leave the property.' And he did, he left. And he dropped those kids off, and he had an accident."

That accident proved fatal.

In her search for answers, Donna went to the District Attorney's office for Ottawa County, but that's when she learned there's no law requiring schools to report intoxicated students to their parents, or even to police, nor even requiring the school to confiscate the alcohol.

While she doesn't go so far as to blame the school outright for her son's death, she feels the school acted irresponsibly in letting her very intoxicated son leave the school.

Donna says she's approached lawmakers at the local, state, and federal levels, but no one has expressed any interest in writing a law mandating that schools report intoxicated students.

Donna did finally get to see her son in his prom tuxedo.

She buried him in it.

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