Daymon Wachtler won’t be here to celebrate his 22nd birthday on Saturday, May 25.
But his spirit will be.
Saturday has been proclaimed by Keizer Mayor Lore Christopher as 3DAD: Daymon’s Drowsy Driving Awareness Day. The event will be held from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at River Road N. and Chemawa Road N., kitty-corner from Shari’s.
Wachtler was an 18-year-old passenger in a car struck by a driver who fell asleep near Dallas, Ore. on the evening of Dec. 6, 2009. The driver of Wachtler’s car, Rebecca Dunaway, was killed instantly while Wachtler passed away two days later. Wachtler was 18 at the time.
Six months later Wachtler’s fiance, Lacey Thomas, gave birth to their daughter, Kaydon.
Deanne Roberts, Wachtler’s mom, asked for and received a proclamation from Christopher in 2011 for May 25 to be Daymon’s Drowsy Driving Awareness Day in Keizer, where the family moved after Wachtler graduated from high school.
Family members and friends will be on hand Saturday to hand out fliers and NODD (No Drowsy Driving) wristbands.
“This year we will be handing out fliers and wristbands to bring awareness to this silent and lawless killer,” Roberts said. “We will have many of Daymon’s friends there helping, along with his daughter that he never got to meet. We miss him terribly and do not want one more family to have to go through this pain.”
According to statistics, the crash that killed Wachtler was one of 823 in Oregon in 2009 caused by drowsiness and fatigue. Roberts has been pushing for a state law to make it an offense to cause an accident while driving fatigued.
“Help us fight drowsy driving by bringing awareness since it can’t be against the law because there is no way to measure how tired you are like you can alcohol levels,” Roberts said. “Many know about drinking and driving because it’s a law. No one thinks too much about driving tired, though, because there’s just not enough awareness.”