by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: NATHAN VANDERVEER-HARRIS - Lake Oswego High School students visit with Tyler Presnell after his presentation last month.Students from area high schools are going to be behind the wheel this summer — and Tyler Presnell wants to make sure they drive carefully.

AAA Oregon/Idaho is sponsoring Presnell’s traffic safety presentations, which have taken him to Lakeridge and Lake Oswego high schools this spring. Presnell’s message — which he also shares through his nonprofit, Tyler Presnell Foundation — comes in time for the sunny season of road trips.

Presnell, now 28, almost died in a car crash when he was 14. In November 1999, a driver with a newly earned driver’s license took Presnell and a few other passengers on a drive. The driver, whom Presnell did not name, took a curvy road at 70 miles per hour, lost control and hit a telephone pole.

Presnell’s seat bore the brunt of the impact, and he suffered a traumatic brain injury along with permanent injuries all over his body.

His journey as a public speaker began when he was in a Portland hospital intensive care unit wondering why he had been so lucky to survive injuries that have taken many other SUBMITTED PHOTO: NATHAN VANDERVEER-HARRIS - Speaker Tyler Presnell shares the damage a car crash can do.

“It was at that time that I knew I needed to share this tragic story — I knew that if given the chance, I could make a difference,” Presnell says on his website.

Reaching out to young drivers is his way of doing that, and, in Lake Oswego and other schools, he has reached hundreds of students with his presentations. AAA Oregon/Idaho plans to sponsor Presnell next year as well.

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