Cazenovia students recently took part in a crash course - well, a mock crash course - in the dangers of drunk driving.
"Alcohol is the leading cause of death among teenagers. We've come to a point of stabilizing the amount of fatalities and number of drunk driving incidents. But it remains a constant," said Stephen Goodfriend, coordinator of Madison County Stop DWI. "The only way we will change that, is from the start; by getting new drivers coming into the system and ensuring they will never drink and drive."
The Cazenovia Police Department conducted a "Mock DWI Crash" the morning of Thursday May 12 on the Cazenovia High School green for an audience of 300 juniors and seniors. In collaboration with the Cazenovia chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions, Madison County Stop DWI, Tait Funeral Home, Cazenovia Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps and district faculty, police officers and volunteer members of the Cazenovia fire department provided a real-life illustration of the repercussions of being drunk behind the wheel.
Goodfriend narrated the somber scene for the wide-eyed students.
Teenagers witnessed a plausible circumstance: set on prom night, four students were involved in a deadly automobile accident on their way to the dance. The driver, who drunkenly drove the car into a tree, escaped the crash with only bruises. As police arrived on the scene, CAVAC and the fire department were summoned. Sergeant Karen Zaleski administered a field-sobriety test and detained the driver.
Two of the passengers had to be extracted from the vehicle and set on stretchers. One of them required additional assistance, as the 10 responding firefighters had to use the jaws of life to remove a door and cut the roof off the rear of the car. The fourth passenger, who was thrown from the vehicle, was pronounced dead on the scene.