The Jenni Anderson Tribute
March 30, 1981 - October 17, 1997
On October 17, 1997, Jenni and her friends were preparing for homecoming weekend. Jenni was a member of Student Council at Waubonsie Valley High School and was so excited to participate in all the activities that go along with Homecoming week.
On Thursday night, Jenni’s parents reluctantly allowed her to join four other girls in the Waubonsie tradition of TP’ing the houses “hiding” the other classes' floats. The tradition of this prank took place at 3:00 am and naturally Jenni’s parents were concerned with their daughter being out so late, but knowing she was responsible and trustworthy, they agreed to let her go. After they finished the prank, two of the five girls were dropped off at home while Jenni, Alli, and Jennifer decided to meet up at the school with other kids who were out TP’ing other homes. On their way to the school, around 4:05 am, a drunk driver traveling over 75 miles per hour, ran a red light and broadsided the girls, killing all three instantly. The passenger in the other car was also killed, she was the mother of three children.
That Saturday night, Jenni was to attend her first Homecoming dance. The aura of excitement around the Anderson house came to a crashing halt the day prior. Instead of her parents answering the door to a young man waiting to pick their daughter up for her first big dance, they answered the door to a young man consoling them. He was dressed in a new suit with a boutonniere pinned to his lapel, a final gesture to the lovely girl who was to be his Homecoming date. He walked up to her casket and placed her corsage and dance ticket beside her.
Jenni’s family has a hole in their hearts without her. Jenni’s sister now has two children and her parents are left wondering how many more grandchildren they would have if on October 17, 1997 that man had made the decision not to drive impaired and had not killed their sweet, vibrant 16 year old daughter. They were given a life sentence of grief, while the man who chose to drive drunk received a sentence of 13 years, serving 4 years and 2 months.
The choices of one person impacted four families that night. Four lives were senselessly taken. DUI is not an accident, it is a choice. It is not a victimless crime. It is a decision that can and often does, impact the lives of everyone on the roads and in the community. Please, do not drive impaired.