Drinking and driving is never the “hip” thing to do. In this special #HipNJ Cares segment, we learn about one family’s tragic story that could have easily been avoided.
Billy and Ashley Streiter were smart, beautiful and well-liked young adults who grew up in Florham Park with their loving parents, Deborah and Bill. Billy had dreams of becoming a lawyer, and was a student at Seton Hall Law School. Ashley’s goal in life was to help children, and studied special education at Kutztown University.
However, on April 5, 2003, those hopes were dashed.
On that terribly rainy, early Saturday morning, Billy was at a friend’s house and stranded without a ride. Wanting to be responsible, he called his sister to pick up him and his friend. Despite the weather and the time, Ashley jumped out of bed and drove thirty minutes for her brother.
On the way back to Florham Park, Ashley’s car had been disabled. While waiting for help on the Garden State Parkway, they were hit by a speeding drunk driver with a suspended license. Ashley and Billy were dead before paramedics arrived.
No parent should have to bury their child. In Deborah Streiter’s case, she had to bury her only children, at the same time. But instead of having the situation consume her, she has used this platform to make a positive difference in the world.
Deborah and her husband award scholarships in their children’s honor each year to their respective schools- Kutztown, Seton Hall Law, University of Rhode Island, and Hanover Park Regional High School, among others. The family, with the help of Billy and Ashley’s friends, hold fundraisers throughout the year to supplement the fund. Deborah and Bill also do many public speaking engagements, and were even the subject of a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo.
#HipNJ’s Lisa Marie Latino sat with Deborah Streiter, and she bravely shared her story. We hope you remember her words as you venture out this holiday season, and always.
For more information, visit ForBillyAndAshley.com.