Sioux Center Community Hospital building

Teenagers learn dangers of distracted driving

SIOUX CENTER (April 11, 2011) - Local students received a gripping message from law enforcement and Lorraine Erdmann on April 11th about the dangers of distracted driving and the key behaviors that contribute to teen crashes and fatalities.

Lorraine Erdmann, who tragically lost her daughter in a car accident after her school prom, was the featured guest speaker who shared details of 'Ariana's Story' and the car accident that tragically ended her daughter's life.

"This event was a great opportunity to inform teens about the dangers of distracted driving," said Mary McClung, Director of Medical Clinics at the Sioux Center Community Hospital & Health Center Avera who helped sponsor the event. "We hope teens will take this information positively and remember the importance of practicing safe driving habits."

'Ariana's Story' takes place in 2002 when a combination of high speed and alcohol resulted in a deadly accident that claimed the lives of two occupants. National statistics reveal that every 15 minutes someone is killed in an alcohol-related accident. Teens are four times as likely to die in such an accident as adults.

Students were shown real life details of the car accident and learned about four key behaviors that contribute to crashes. These include failure to use seatbelts, speeding, alcohol use and distracted driving.

Trooper Vince Kurtz of the Iowa State Patrol and Waylan Pollema of the Sioux County Sheriff's office collaborated with the Sioux Center Community Hospital & Health Center Avera for the presentation. The schools who participated in the project were Sioux Center Community High School, Western Christian High School and Boyden-Hull High School.

"The information shared about distracted driving comes at a time right before prom," said Mary McClung. "We hope the information presented settles in and makes them think twice about driving distracted."

Lorraine's family continues their pledge to commemorate their daughter's life by sharing Ariana's story with other teens.  They travel as often as they can to schools to share the story of Ariana's life and the real dangers of drinking and distracted driving. 


Sioux Center Community Hospital & Health Center Avera is a non-profit, community hospital which was established in 1946 by a group of local leaders who envisioned a health ministry to serve the health needs of the community. It is governed by forty-five community members who volunteer to serve on the Board of Directors.