Mock crash impacts GHS seniors
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Apr. 29, 2011
Glastonbury High School was the scene of a mock drunk-driving accident on April 27.
The mock crash is part of the annual week of a curriculum on teens and high-risk behaviors that also included workshops on dating violence and other dangers to which teens are susceptible, and has taken place in the spring for the last three years.
Thursday morning's senior homeroom in the GHS auditorium began with a short video, acted and produced by students, which depicted an all-night bonfire party where many students were intoxicated.
A fight between a boyfriend and girlfriend ends with the boy storming off in his car, along with three passengers. Their SUV collides with a car carrying two other students who had awakened early to go to the beach.
The scene then shifts to a live-action continuation in the school's parking lot, where members of the Glastonbury Police Department, Glastonbury Volunteer Ambulance and Glastonbury Volunteer Fire Department arrive to assess the incident.
One student, Rob Carroll, portrayed a victim who was clearly dead upon the arrival of the responders. John Capreol, who played the part of the intoxicated driver, was given a sobriety test and arrested by police.
Officer Kristina Vetrano of the GPD Youth Unit has coordinated the effort for the past three years.
“The kids that we used this year, they brought it,” Vetrano said. “I didn't even have to direct them; they just took it and ran with everything I asked them to.”
Vetrano said the scene is changed a little each year, and continues to improve. “We're getting it down,” she said.
Throughout the school day on Thursday, officers visit classrooms of pre-selected students and remove them. The students will then return to class in make-up depicting that they have “died,” representative of the statistic that every 15 minutes a person dies from an alcohol related-vehicular crash.
“I think the kids responded extremely well this year,” said Annemarie Colebrook, director of health and physical education for Glastonbury schools. “They were very respectful and very attentive.”
Colebrook said the week's presentations were the most powerful to date.
Students filmed a video of the accident, which was added to the “pre-crash” video and shown to the class on Friday.
The actors also put together a presentation for their peers.
“That makes kids think,” Colebrook said. “That's our job. We hope it makes them think enough to at least stop before they make a decision in any of the high-risk behaviors we talked about this week. It's not just about drinking and driving - it's about texting and driving, dating violence, and high-speed driving.”