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Mahwah Teen Is New Jersey's Youngest 'MADDvocate': This Is Her Story

Julia Stuart of Mahwah with fellow MADD advocate Steven Benvenisti. The pair spoke together at Livingston High School earlier this month.
Julia Stuart of Mahwah with fellow MADD advocate Steven Benvenisti. The pair spoke together at Livingston High School earlier this month. Photo Credit: Contributed

There's not much that Julia Stuart of Mahwah doesn't miss. Her mind is constantly looking, eyes darting, ears listening.

No matter where she is, the 15-year-old makes sure she is aware of her surroundings.

Her days of carefree living came to a sudden halt Memorial Day Weekend 2016 because of a drunk driver -- her good friend's father.

He was twice over the legal limit when he backed his Mustang convertable into Stuart, then 13, as she was walking down his driveway to her own dad's car.

In seconds, her life dramatically changed.

All because of one drunk driver.

"It can happen anywhere," the teen said. "Even where you least expect it. I didn't expect it."

It can happen anywhere

Stuart has made a full recovery and is spreading her message as the youngest New Jersey advocate for MADD.

She recently began speaking to kids her age at local high schools, most recently in Livingston.

"People have the same reaction every time," Stuart told Daily Voice.

"I don't think they expect me to say that I was in my friend's driveway and hit by someone that I know."

With prom season underway, Stuart hopes her message resonates among kids her age.

Don't drink and drive

"After prom, everyone goes to a party and there are not parents around," she said. "People are usually drinking and you just have to be aware of who you're getting in a car with."

More simply, she said:

"Don't drink and drive."

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