Fatal Worth crash brings to light important CHAMPS program - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Fatal Worth crash brings to light important CHAMPS program

WORTH CO., GA (WALB) - A memorial service was held late Monday afternoon for a Worth County teenager killed in an alcohol-related crash over the weekend.

The Worth County Sheriff's Office hopes a new program will help teens make better choices.

The Georgia Sheriff's Association started the CHAMPS program ten years ago to talk to kids about issues such as alcohol, drugs, and bullying.

Deputy Jerry Walters works in Worth County schools to make sure kids make the right choices.

This school year the Sheriff's office is beginning a program called "CHAMPS,” or choosing healthy activities and methods promoting safety, to teach kids important life lessons.

"Choices that we make in our life our going to follow us throughout our life and unfortunately the accidents that we've had throughout the last few weeks are some bad choices that ended up with some bad consequences," says Deputy Jerry Walters with the Worth County Sheriff’s Office.

Over the weekend, 17-year-old Jacob Saxton was killed in a crash that state troopers believe involved alcohol. His best friend Chris Lavant says everyone is still in shock.

"When we first heard about it we thought it was a joke and we were like stop playing, everybody just saw him at school and everybody just talked to him, it still don't seem real," says best friend Chris Lavant.

Teens in Sylvester held a vigil for Saxton last night.

"He always made you smile and was always smiling and he was a great person and I really miss that," says Lavant

Sheriff Jeff Hobby says he appreciates the support he's gotten for the CHAMPS program.

"They want something done. I've had several phone calls about what we can do to prevent some of these accidents we've had and I think this program will be one of the programs that can help prevent it. They're starting at an early age but you got to start with the children young," says Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby.

Lavant encourages other teens to be safe and make good decisions.

"You never know your limit until something bad happens."

Lavant says Saxton's birthday is coming up and he plans to honor it by getting Worth County teens to sign a pledge not to drink and drive.

The CHAMPS program is implemented in more than 70 counties in Georgia.

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