An episode of One Bad Choice aired on MTV. It featured the story of Jessica Rasdall.
The whole thing played out like a bad, slow soap opera. College freshman Jessica and her friend Laura like the same guy, Connor, then we're done with that. They worked together at a restaurant. At some point, Jessica drank and drove, but pulled over so nothing went wrong.
Laura complained about not having a boyfriend, and some guy said she wasn't skanky enough. Laura misheard and thought the guy called her skanky, and was upset that Jessica didn't defend her. Then Laura was upset that Cooper had asked Jessica out, even though he just asked her to see his band play. That led to Laura and Jessica ignoring each other for two weeks. Laura eventually broke the ice and asked to be friends again. Laura told Jessica that she'd been in a car accident - she was fine, but her car was totaled.
Laura asked Jessica to go out to celebrate their reunion, so Jessica went even though she didn't feel well, and they went to a club forty minutes away. The girls were on line, and a guy approached them to let them in. He said he worked there and said they were pretty. They thought it was great at first, and the guy, Mike, wouldn't leave them alone. He then got the girls, who were underage, free drinks. Mike seemed to be watching them the whole time. They tried to hide in the crowd but failed. It got creepy. They kept drinking, though. They eventually got a really bad feeling about Mike. The girls tried to leave before he found them. When they got to the car, they thought Mike might be tailing them. They lost him. Things were good. And that was the last thing Jessica remembered.
After a commercial, we flipped back to Jessica crying with the car flipped on its side. Jessica was trapped and nobody was stopping. She knew someone was in her passenger seat but couldn't figure out who it was. She doesn't remember who found them or how they got to the hospital, but she remembers being in the trauma unit. She remembers she said she was tired. A nurse told her she had to stay awake - no sleep with a head injury. People were talking about identifying the passenger. Jessica tried to say it was Laura but nobody listened. Jessica's mom arrived, and her reaction made it clear that Jessica was in bad shape. It's then when Jessica heard a cop say there had been a fatality. Jessica was overwhelmed with emotion. She'd also heard that there would have to be a drug and alcohol test done, but that wasn't her focus.
Jessica told us that she can't explain how it feels to know your decision led to the death of your best friend. She'd recover fully, but Laura died instantly. Jessica went home, and was notified that her family was not welcome at the funeral. At the attorney's office, Jessica was told that the legal limit for drinking and driving is .08 and her blood alcohol level had been .12. She was advised that Laura's family would pursue a manslaughter charge, which could carry 10 - 15 years in jail. However, Laura was her concern, not the charge.
Jessica's bail was paid and she lived at home until her trial. She was charged with DUI/manslaughter. Jessica was advised to plead not guilty. The state has to prove three things to charge Jessica - she drank, she drove, and she caused the fatality due to the alcohol limit. Jessica wondered how she could not be charged, and the answer was that she was hit from behind so the accident may have not been her fault.
Right before the trial, the judge offered Jessica a plea deal. She could choose four years in prison, and she could accept or reject it. If she accepts it, she does four years. If she doesn't and is found guilty, the prosecutor would press for the full 15 years.
Jessica accepted the four years. She accepted that because she felt that she should be punished for what she did and that justice should be served. Jessica entered a military based youthful offender program. It was physical and difficult. Jessica was introduced to Luann, who was in the same situation, and the pair discussed their never-ending guilt. That gave Jessica hope that she could make it through.
Jessica wants to make sure that Laura's death was not in vain. She wants others to learn from her story. She now shares her story and does what she can to make it right and prevent someone else from making the same mistake. She questioned why she lived, and she then realized it's for a bigger reason - she can help others.
The show has a good lesson for a teen channel - don't do dumb stuff. But the show played out slowly, very dramatically, and was somewhat stream of consciousness - it was a little confusing. For example, Mike was good, Mike was bad, Mike was good, Mike was bad. That kind of thing.
The show is absolutely haunting. The combination of drama, music and acting made a point that truly hit home. This is absolutely something that teenagers should watch so they don't make the same mistake as Jessica did. The pain never ends in Jessica's story; she's gotten into a relationship and has a daughter, but she has not healed completely. She doesn't know if she'll ever forgive herself, and that's something that people should understand - one mistake can change things forever.
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