Lexington, SC (WLTX) -- The eighth grade class at Lexington Middle School got a personal lesson in tragedy.
It was seven years ago that Caitlyn Martin's brother, Byron Martin, Jr., was driving on a road in Lexington County when he lost control of his car, hit a tree, and died.
That wrecked car was on display outside the middle school's auditorium Tuesday afternoon. After listening to Caitlyn Martin speak, the kids filed out of the auditorium and walked by the car. many of them looked in awe.
Officials are hoping the car serves as the ultimate reminder of the dangers of driving.
"We try to take every opportunity we have to work with the kids and let them know that these kinds of things happen to real people everyday," said Ryan Pool, the principal at Lexington Middle School.
Pool said about 250 students listened to Caitlyn Martin tell the story of how her brother died in 2007.
"I like to give them my story so that hopefully it can save one of their lives one day," Caitlyn Martin said.
According to the Lexington Police Department, Byron was not wearing a seat belt when his car left the road.
Recalling the day his son died, Byron Martin Sr. said it was a "horrible day."
Caitlyn Martin said the friend her brother was riding with was wearing a seat belt and lived. She believed the result would have been different if her brother were wearing his seat belt.
"My brother would very likely still be alive today if he would have simply clicked his seat belt," Caitlyn Martin said.
Caitlyn Martin said speaking to eighth graders is important because when they get into high school, they will be faced with decisions about seat belt usage and safe driving while riding with friends.
As many of them learn to drive and get licenses, she wants them to remember her lesson, she said.