Special Troops Battalion Saftey Day

Story and Photo by Pfc. Fabian Ortega
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office

13th COSCOM Special Troops Battalion held its quarterly safety day briefings at the Phantom Warrior Center here May 4.

The day's safety briefings included special guest speakers from Mothers Against Drunk Driving in an effort to inform soldiers on the dangers of drinking and driving and its impact on soldier safety.

Laura Cranfill, a member of MADD, lost her 12 year-old son, Tyler Cranfill, to a drunk driver in a car accident on their way home from vacation July 2003. She and members of her family shared their story with Soldiers.

"A car crossed the median and hit us head-on and I was knocked unconscious," said Cranfill. "Tyler was sleeping at the time and he was crushed to death," Cranfill went on to say. "Never in a million years would I have thought I would lose my son to a drunken driver."

"I just want to tell people not to drink and drive. It's scary and I hope and pray none of you go through what I went through," she said.

Tyler's mother and sister, Katie were also seriously injured in the accident.

Cranfill's car was impacted head on by an oncoming vehicle at 93 miles per hour. The driver and passenger in the other vehicle were killed instantly.

Tyler Cranfill's grandparents also relived that night and pleaded with Soldiers to make the right decision before operating a vehicle.

"We received a phone call at 3:30 in the morning, and I was told my daughter had been in an accident," said James Sneed, Tyler Cranfill's grandfather. "The saddest thing is, it could have been prevented," said Sneed. "Drink responsibly. You have seen and heard of things ten times worse than this, but I want this story to bring it home," he said. "We need you on the battlefields, we don't want to lose you on our highways."

"I hope and pray none of you ever put yourselves in this position," added Sneed.

The STB command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Patterson, agreed with Sneed's statements.

"Safety is important. (Soldiers) cannot go around and continue to chance it and say, 'It will never happen to us,'" said Patterson, referring to accidents caused by drinking and driving.

"Soldiers have to do their part. Safety does not end at (end of the duty day), it's a continuous effort and Soldiers must apply what they learned here today to their daily activities," he added.

The Cranfills created a website, www.tylercranfill.com, in memory of Tyler Cranfill.

"We want to bring the reality of drinking and driving to people," said Cranfill.


James Sneed
James Sneed, Tyler Cranfill's grandfather and advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, speaks to Special Troops Battalion Soldiers about the dangers of drinking and driving during STB safety day.