5 years later, walk honors teens killed by drunk driver
Brooke McPheters and Jordyn Durr were just 15 years old and weeks away from the start of a new school year when they were fatally struck down by a drunk driver.
Thursday marked five years since the teens lost their lives on the corner of Abbott Road and 88th Avenue in south Anchorage. Today, two benches under a tree and a sign reminding drivers not to drink and drive memorialize the girls at the site where they were hit by Stacey Graham's pickup truck.
Cara Hooper walked to the memorial Thursday, flowers and her emotional support dog Willow in tow. She’s walked the nine-tenths of a mile from the Dimond Center mall to Abbott and 88th every year since the crash.
"The day that they got hit, they were originally here at the Dimond Center shopping for school, which was going to start in a week or two,” Hooper remembered. “Then they were walking home. So that's why we start at the Dimond Center and we go to the crash site."
She makes the emotional walk at 5 o’clock, the time her best friends were killed. Hooper met McPheters in junior ROTC at South Anchorage High School, forming a quick and strong bond.
"I miss her so much. I think a lot of things would be different if she was here... we were planning on going to college together out of state."
Durr was in junior ROTC at Service High School. The girls were best of friends. To cope with the pain, Hooper visits the memorial as often as she can. She is also a strong advocate against drinking and driving, volunteering with non-profits like the Forget Me Not Mission to increase pubic education and awareness.
While walking to the site, Hooper thinks about why her friends couldn’t make it home -- when home was just within reach.
"Not even a mile," Hooper said. "They were just so close to being at Jordyn's house and it's so heartbreaking that it was just right there."
Now she sits on the bench with her best friends' name inscribed alongside a butterfly, wishing she could have just one more conversation.
"I would say, 'I love you, I miss you,' tell her everything that's happened without her," Hooper said.
Hooper is selling bumper stickers to help spread the slain teens' memory -- as well as stop the crime which killed them.
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