Rachel Blasingame was 16 years old when she was killed by a drunk driving accident on a Mesquite, TX freeway on May 30, 2003. Since that day, she has continued to make an important impact on many lives, and in many ways.
Frank Dorsett and Jason Scott, were chasing each other in an intoxicated road rage incident along Texas highway 635. Jason lost control of his vehicle and crossed the divider. He hit the car driven by Rachel head on. She died in the drunk driving accident.
(The 13th annual Rachel Blasingame Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament will be held at Woodbridge Golf Club in Wylie, Texas on Monday, June 6, 2016. You can join the tournament at 4RachelsGift.org. Donations are also accepted and appreciated.)
In the years since, Rachel has made a profound impact on many lives in her memory.
Rachel’s parents, Guy and Julie Blasingame lobbied the State of Texas to install cable barriers on interstate highways. They hoped to stop cross-over crashes, like the one that killed Rachel.
The Brifen Barrier Cable was later installed on the same stretch of road. The barrier has already worked to stop dozens of similar accidents.
“If a barrier would have been there, Rachel would be 18 and celebrating Christmas with us,” Julie Blasingame said in an interview in 2004. “A barrier has the ability to save a totally innocent life, the ones who are just going about their business.”
Texas ended up installing 740 miles of cable safety barriers in the median of divided highways to prevent head-on collisions.
The Blasingame’s also worked hard to get Texas to pass an initiative that allows friends and family of loved ones killed by drunk driving accidents to place memorial signs along state highways and interstates.
The signs mark the spot where the tragedies occur. Rachel’s memorial marker reads: “Please don’t drink and drive. In memory of Rachel Blasingame, May 30, 2003″ and was the very first in the state.
The sign stayed up for 4 years. It was taken down because of a federal law that requires those signs be only temporary.
Although the signs are only permitted to stay up for two years, Rachel’s sign stayed up for four years as it was the first sign erected.
The signs are designed to discourage drunk driving and help decrease the accidents caused by intoxicated drivers.
The sign is now on the side of the Valley Creek Church of Christ building in Mesquite in full view of the road. Rachel attended there when she died and her parents still do so today.
In 2004, ex-Olympian Sammy Walker established the Rachel Blasingame Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament.
Now in its 13th year, the tournament has raised raised over $170,000 and assisted 145 deserving High School Seniors in meeting tuition requirements to be able to attend Abilene Christian University.
Having just finished her Junior year at Mesquite High School, Rachel was eventually headed for Abilene Christian University, her parent’s Alma Mater. She never got there, but her legacy has been helping others, many others, attain that goal.
It is an ironic that a sporting event is used in Rachel’s memory. Rachel often said, “If I can Play it, it is not a sport”
But Rachel excelled in the academic world. She was a straight A, National Honor Society student and was 4th in her class. She shared her talents through her appreciation of theater and music.
She was a thespian, winning awards for her work in theater.
Rachel also played the viola in the orchestra, and planned on singing with the Mesquite High choir.
Rachel also was a member of the American Sign Language Club.
Rachel was also known to have a strong selfless desire to help other people. Rachel had just become involved with the Shattered Dreams program. She wanted to be part of persuading students not to drink and drive. It was ironic that an intoxicated driver took part in ending her life.
Shattered Dreams is a two-day, school-based program that promotes responsible decision-making among high school students regarding underage drinking and drunk driving by showing them how irresponsible choices can end all dreams.
Rachel was also a Bible scholar. She was often found reading her Bible with a flashlight under the covers at night.
Her Bible is filled with notes from cover to cover. She read until the pages fell out. She had to laminate the outside pages. Rachel had a true love for the Word and it’s truths.
Rachel had often engaged in a battle of Bible trivia with Sammy Walker and many others.
It was not taken lightly to try to beat Rachel Blasingame in a battle of Bible knowledge!
Rachel was, and continues to be an inspiration to both those who knew her as well as those who did not. Although her death was a tragedy, she continues to impact lives. Her memory lives on in many ways.
Her parents know that the actions taken over the years have saved lives from drunk driving accidents and will continue to do so in the future. You can hear Rachel’s mom, Julie Blasingame discuss her story here.
The 13th annual Rachel Blasingame Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament will be held at Woodbridge Golf Club in Wylie, Texas on Monday, June 6, 2016. You can join the tournament at 4RachelsGift.org. Donations are also accepted and appreciated.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF RACHEL
Performed by Thomas Fitzgerald
Written by Ken Leonard
..and another beautiful tribute by Rachel’s cousin Emily.
Rachel had in incredible love for the Word… something vitally missing in today’s churches.