BAYONNE, NJ - With their prom fast approaching the Bayonne High School Class of 2019 was visited by local first responders Thursday all intent on delivering one message: Do not drive drunk or distracted.
With members of the Bayonne Police Department, Bayonne Fire Department, McCabe Ambulance, and Bayonne OEM participating, the gathering featured a simulated car crash complete with mangled vehicles, injured passengers, a drunk driver, and a fatality.
There was a notable sense of seriousness on the faces of many of the more than 600 students that had gathered, organizers said, as emergency workers used the jaws of life to perform an extrication, offered immediate care to the “injured,” placed a white sheet over the “deceased,” and “arrested” the drunk driver responsible for the tragedy.
“We can all remember a time when we thought we were invincible,” Mayor Jimmy Davis told TAPinto Bayonne after the event. “The sad reality is it only takes one bad decision to end a life, and we hope that today with these students, Bayonne’s most precious asset, we prevented that.”
Also speaking at the event was Bayonne resident Pam O’Donnell, who, in the three years since the tragic road deaths of her husband and five-year-old daughter, has become an advocate for efforts to end distracted driving.
“Imagine coming to school and finding out your favorite teacher was dead” because of a drunk driver, O’Donnell said. “That’s what happened to the hundreds of students that waited in line for five hours to see my husband in a box.
Offering a warning that the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is widely known as the “100 dangerous days of summer” because of the uptick in crashes, the still grieving wife and mother, who just last week provided an emotional victim impact statement at the sentencing of the man responsible for cutting her family in half, implored the students to pay more attention to the road.
“Your destiny is you choice,” she said. “Have fun but be responsible.”
Saying he was proud of the efforts of the first responders involved in the simulation Bayonne Police Chief Rob Geisler added that “it’s important to educate our young drivers about the devastating consequences that can occur when people choose to drive drunk or distracted.”
“Hopefully today’s events helped get this message across to all our Bayonne High School seniors.”