The three photos of Toney Lineberry, taken more than seven years ago, show a muscular young man in high school wrestling gear, grinning in front of his bright red Mustang, and posing with his arm around his girlfriend.
Last week, Lineberry sat in a wheelchair on the auditorium stage of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School while the pictures flashed behind him and told several hundred students how the life he had known ended one night seven years ago behind the wheel of the car.
The Richmond resident described a snowy and icy January night, eight days after his 18th birthday, when he disobeyed his parents and sneaked out with a friend in search of adventure. On their way to a party, Lineberry noticed what looked like a patch of water ahead on the highway.
His car hit the ice at 60 miles an hour, sailed for 100 feet, rolled over several times and landed upside down in a ravine. His friend was thrown through the car's front window and injured, and Lineberry's neck was broken. He had no feeling from the chest down as the ambulance crew pulled him out.
Today he is paralyzed from the chest down, retaining only a bit of strength in his arms. He cannot use his fingers.
"I want each of you to know it's an ugly situation," he said.
But helping save lives as a full-time speaker on driver safety "keeps me motivated," Lineberry said.
His message is simple and direct: He tells students that a buckled seat belt that fateful night would have dramatically lessened his injuries.
Students said that message had been brought home to them two months ago, when B-CC senior Bridget Armitage was killed in the high-speed crash of her boyfriend's car a block from the school. Armitage was not wearing a seat belt.
Such accidents are the leading cause of deaths for people aged 15 to 24 years, and school officials and student groups asked Lineberry, a full-time speaker sponsored by several traffic safety groups, to talk about speeding, drinking and driving and the importance of using seat belts. He spoke to the junior class, most of whose members have just begun to drive.
Referring to Armitage, Lineberry said: "I understand you all went through a similar tragedy recently. You know what I'm talking about."
Mike Havlik, 17, said the speech was timely in light of the recent death of their schoolmate. Havlik said he wears a seat belt when driving on the highway, but not in town. "But I'll definitely think about it," he added.
After Armitage's death, "I think a lot of people got scared," said 17-year-old Elizabeth Gray. "It made people aware of what a responsibility driving is. I mean, somebody that everybody knew died. That's really scary."
For drivers who use the excuse that seat belts are uncomfortable or too restrictive, Lineberry said: "You ought to try being slammed into a steering column at 60 miles an hour, or try sitting in one of these for 7 1/2 years. I can't kid you, this wheelchair is uncomfortable."
Lineberry has been on the lecture circuit, giving about 10 speeches a week, for more than two years. His program is sponsored by the Maryland Association of Women's Highway Safety Leaders, the Maryland Committee for Safety Belt Use, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Accompanying him around the country is his wife of one year, Donna.
The Virginia Rehabilitation Association, a group of medical professionals, named Lineberry its 1982 Virginia Rehabilitant of the Year. In 1984, he received the the highway administration's Outstanding Public Service Award.
He likes talking to students best.
"I feel I can leave an impression with them more than any other group," he said.
"They can relate to my life before the accident."