Clinton County mother uses personal tragedy to teach pedestrian safety

PERU, N.Y. (WCAX) A Peru, New York mother devoted to keeping kids safe, is turning her tragedy into a learning opportunity.

The holidays are a time when families come together. But for Christol Mastic, the holidays have a whole other meaning. "Six years ago -- November 15th 2011... at this stage I didn't know what happened I just knew there had been a car accident," Mastic said.

Brendon Sorell was supposed to graduate Peru High School in 2012. He never got to walk across the stage to get his diploma. "As a parent you don't ever expect to bury your child. It took me a while to get myself together," Mastic said.

Sorell died in 2011. New York State Police determined that lack of reflective clothing contributed to the fatal pedestrian accident.

"Always make sure you have something reflective on even down to your shoes," said Clinton County Sheriff's Deputy Sargent Kristen Brassard. She says pedestrian involved accidents are more likely when someone isn't paying attention. "People should be more aware of their surroundings and just the area. A lot of where we cover is very rural, you know, not very well lit, not a lot of street lights, cross walks, things like that."

"If your not paying attention and the driver can't see you, you've got a 3,000 pound bullet coming at you, and they can't stop," Mastic said. She has spent the last six years mourning her son, and using this tragic experience to help others. "We decided we didn't want another family to go through what we went through."

She travels to schools and explains proper pedestrian safety. "Just to remind the kids and the adults, because we see a lot of adults doing this too. Walk on the right side of the road, run on the right side of the road, wear bright colors," Mastic said.

Authorities say maintaining eye with drivers is important, and being aware of your surroundings.