"I didn't come here today to stand up here and preach to anybody," Sandy said to a group of Chattahoochee Technical College students Wednesday. "I do want to share an event that happened in my life and maybe it will give you a chance to know how important it is to make the right choices in life."
Sandy was involved in a vehicle accident in April 2000 that resulted in the deaths of two people.
"I was at a little party and a few of us had some drinks," he said. "I got a phone call from a friend down the road at another party ... got into the driver's seat and my friend Jesse and I drove off, except we never made it to the other party."
Sandy's story, described as an eye-opener by CTC student Melissa Geathers, is a tale of pain and enduring regret.
"I was starting to get in a hurry [to get to the party] and I get up to 80 mph [then the] speed limit dropped to 35. I did not slow down," Sandy said.
"We drove up on a white minivan and I [decided to] blow past them. I see an oncoming vehicle -- a car in the other lane coming in my direction. As I'm getting back in my lane, I see a gold flash in my face and BAM! I hear an incredibly loud, solid sound and everything went black."
Sandy woke from an unconscious state after being pinned to the passenger dash to hear an emergency responder shouting that "there's a fatality on the scene."
"I realized right then I had killed someone," Sandy said. "I laid there praying this was a horrible nightmare and I'd close my eyes and this would all go away."
But it didn't.
After waking in a hospital, Sandy was informed that there were two people in the vehicle he had collided into. Both had died -- one on impact and the other after being taken by life flight for emergency surgery. Sandy's passenger and friend walked away from the accident with minor injuries and Sandy himself suffered a dislocated hip and a knee injury with severe bleeding.
The Georgia State Patrol investigated the crash and two months after the incident charged Sandy with two counts of vehicular homicide by driving under the influence. A guilty plea was entered after Sandy discovered he was facing up to 30 years in prison. He served eight and a half years -- 3,117 days -- in prison and is currently on parole with his sentence ending in 2013.
After the presentation, students gathered around a DUI simulator to gain a perspective of what it is like to drive after consuming alcohol. Giovanna Tomassoni said that it was "interesting. I was a little dizzy."
Beer goggles, goggles enhanced with a special lens to imitate impaired vision influenced by alcohol, also were on hand for students to see the drastic change. Friends tossed a ball to each other while wearing the goggles, noting how difficult it was to try to catch the object.
"It was the worst choice of my life," Sandy said, sharing with the group how his bad decision harmed his family. "My whole family was completely ripped apart because of what I did. My parents felt like failures in life because of what I did. It completely ruined them."
Sandy's presentation followed his first stop at Woodland High School on a daylong trek of three stops ending at the University of Georgia.
Sandy is part of Enduring Regret Inc., an organization created to share his story with young people in efforts to prevent drinking and driving. For more information, visit www.enduringregret.org or check out the Facebook page listed under "Enduring Regret, Inc."