College Student Awarded $1,000 Scholarship
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (March 23, 2023) — We are pleased to announce that Julissa Sauceda, 22, of Azusa, is the winner of the spring 2023 Johnson Attorneys Group Never Drink and Drive Scholarship.
She is a junior at the Corona campus of La Sierra University in Riverside where she is pursing a career in criminal justice. She is also holding down two part-time jobs at Starbucks and Target.
Just two years ago, Julissa lost her best friend in a car crash involving a suspected DUI and wrong-way driver. It was a devastating blow. The two met in their freshman year at La Sierra University and were both taking criminal justice classes together.
“Julissa honors that relationship with this heart-felt essay,” said Attorney James Johnson, Founder of Johnson Attorneys Group. “Her ideas about preventing other wrong-way driver crashes could actually save lives. We wish her all the best with her studies and efforts to end drunk driving in California.”
Our California personal injury law firm enlisted help choosing the winner from our local California Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) office.
“It’s great to read such passionate words from these young adults,” said Rhonda Campbell, Lead Victim Services Specialist at MADD California. “Julissa Sauceda’s essay was well researched and very compelling with the personal story included.”
Julissa Sauceda’s Never Drink and Drive Essay
The winning essay was chosen from six finalists. We asked students to share how drunk driving had affected them or someone they knew. Julissa researched drunk driving statistics, came up with some solutions to end wrong-way driving and shared the story of her friend’s tragic death in February of 2021.
“My best friend died in a car accident due to a wrong-way driver,” she wrote in her essay. “This accident caused a 7-vehicle collision and took the lives of two people, one of them being my 22 year old friend. The driver causing the accident was under the influence, and as a result of this entered the exit ramp on the freeway, heading into wrong-way traffic.”
Julissa later learned she won the scholarship on the day after her friend’s birthday.
“I think it’s ironic because yesterday was his birthday,” she said. “I must be doing right.”
Indeed, Julissa hopes the ideas she discussed in her essay might help prevent future fatalities.
She suggested that all freeway ramps would be safer if there were flashing lights or reflective “Wrong-way” signs to warn motorists. She also suggested putting arrows at the exit of each ramp.
“This may seem like a small measure, but it’s one that could make all the difference,” she said, adding that Caltrans studies showed these measures could reduce the incidents of wrong-way crashes by 44 to 64 percent.
Meanwhile, when Julissa is not attending classes or working, she finds time to care for her pet goldfish and read books including ones from her favorite author Steven King.
We wish Julissa all the best in her future endeavors.
We would like to thank Mothers Against Drunk Driving California for helping us choose our winner again this year. If you would like to learn more about scholarship opportunities from Johnson Attorneys Group, please visit our website.
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