The three photographs of Toney Lineberry taken more than seven years ago show a muscular young man in high school wrestling gear, posed in front of his bright red Mustang, smiling, with his arm around his girlfriend.

Earlier this month, Lineberry sat in a wheelchair on the stage of the auditorium at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School while the pictures flashed behind him, and told several hundred students how the life that he knew ended one night seven years ago, behind the wheel of his car.

The Richmond resident described a snowy, 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 said, he saw what looked like a patch of water on the highway.

His car hit the ice slick at 60 miles an hour, sailed 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, while 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 little strength in his arms. He cannot use his fingers.

"I want each of you to know it's an ugly situation," he said.

But, Lineberry said, helping to save lives as a speaker on driver safety "keeps me motivated."

His message is simple and direct: He tells the students that wearing a seat belt that fateful night would have lessened his injuries considerably.

Students said this message was 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, only a block from the school. Armitage was not wearing a seat belt.

Such accidents are the leading cause of deaths for persons aged 15 to 24, and school officials and student groups had asked Lineberry, a full-time speaker sponsored by traffic safety groups, to talk about speeding, drinking and driving, and the importance of using seat belts. He addressed 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 that Lineberry's speech was timely in light of the recent death of their schoolmate. Havlik said that he wears a seat belt when driving on the highway, but not in town.

"But I'll definitely think about it," Havlik said.

After Armitage's death, "I think a lot of people got scared," said 17-year-old Elizabeth Gray, adding: "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, making about 10 public appearances a week, for more than two years.

His talks are sponsored by the Maryland Association of Women's Highway Safety Leaders, Maryland Committee for Safety Belt Use, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

Donna, his wife of one year, accompanies him around the country.

The Virginia Rehabilitation Association, a group of medical professionals, named Lineberry its 1982 Virginia Rehabilitant of the Year. In 1984 he received 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."