GL students learn it's not always alcohol. Distracted driving is just as fatal

Credits: Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. - Members of the Governor Livingston High School senior class learned a lot about distracted driving last week, when they witnessed a reenactment of a fatal motor vehicle accident at the high school.

The program, which was held on Wednesday, May 27, was put on through the collaborative efforts of all the Mountainside and Berkeley Heights emergency services - police and fire department and first aid squads - Maria Esteves from the Union Prosecutors Office, the Berkeley Heights Board of Education and Atlantic Ambulance Medivac Helicopter. It was run by Detective Shaun Bendik of the Mountainside Police Department and Bob Segear, the student assistance counselor, at the high school.

Samantha Lloyd, a member of the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad and its deputy chief of operations took part in the program. She said she believes "the last time this program was presented to the GL students was 2009 ... We really felt privileged to be part of a very worthwhile program presents to the GL seniors."

Sign Up for E-News

Three members of the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad took part in the program -  Lloyd, Narkiss Sternberg and Scott Brookes, a 2013 graduate of the high school. Both EMTs from the Mountainside Volunteer Rescue Squad - Cassie Kinney and Elisa Paras - were graduates of the high school.

In a release from the school Segear wrote, "The TREND Club Executive Board Members took active roles in the reenactment by role-playing as drivers and passengers, in the two crash vehicles that brought to the high school by DeFalcos Towing Company.

"The senior class stood and watched as they were told how the accident occurred and then heard the live 911 call. The scenario of the accident that left two dead was created by Mountainside detectives. In one car, there were two people in the car; in the second, three.

In the simulated accident, the designated driver of one car, Tara Nixon, (fictitious name), who was sober, was passed a cell phone by one of her intoxicated passengers. When Tara was responding to the text message, she went through the red traffic light and hit the other car, killing both the driver and passenger," Segear wrote.

The fictional consequences of the simulated two-car accident were, the driver who was texting, Nixon, and her two passengers were injured. The two people in the car that was hit suffered more serious injuries - the passenger was killed instantly, the driver was in critical condition, and later died at the scene of the accident, Lloyd said.

The high school seniors watched as police cars were dispatched and responded in real time. Upon their arrival the police officers assessed the accident examined the victims and radioed for the First Aid Squad and Fire Department.

When members of the First Aid Squad arrived, they began treating the injured and called for the Atlantic Ambulance Medivac Helicopter because of the critical state of two of the crash victims.

The helicopter landed on the ball field, Segear wrote.

Lloyd said the students watched from the beginning, when the mock accident first occurred, and saw how first responders are dispatched and arrive at the scene of an accident. They also saw how EMTs do their work, treating the injured, as needed, and how fire department personnel can use the Jaws of Life to take off the car's roof and remove people. They also heard the helicopter arrive and watched its landing at the ball field. Finally, they saw "the police response, which involved the arrest of the texting driver."

After the driver was "arrested," the senior class was taken to the auditorium, where they heard Maria Esteves, the victim witness advocate from the Union County Prosecutor's Office tell her own family's story. Her eight-year-old daughter and her uncle were hit and killed by an impaired driver while they were crossing the street, on their way to the market.

After Esteve's powerful story, the students watched as a judge sentenced Nixon, the driver who had been texting at the time of the simulated accident, to eight years in prison and took away her right to drive for 10 years.  Nixon was handcuffed in the court room and taken to a jail cell.

At the end of the assembly the students were reminded by Segear to enjoy the prom and graduation by being safe and looking out for one another.

Lloyd said throughout the program, "the students watched intently and got to see how quickly things can change when bad choices are made."

Segear wrote, "At the end of the program, many students commented that the program was very powerful and sent a clear message. 'Distracted driving is as deadly as driving while impaired.'"

Video Credits GLTV



TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

'Tired of cronyism? Yeah, us too'

July 21, 2018

The Union County Freeholders’ decision to appoint State Senator and newly-elected Union County Democratic Chairman, Nick Scutari’s chief of staff, Ed Oatman as County Manager smelled of corruption from the start. To place a political consultant like Oatman in the role of overseeing 2,800 employees and running the day-to-day operations of the $500 million county budget suggests ...

TAPinto Spotlight on Business Features New Providence Dentistry

July 17, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - TAPinto "Summer Spotlight on Business" features local businesses and their owners who are important to our communities. Follow this column to receive a fresh perspective on small business owners and their unique needs while shining a spotlight on their stories.

This edition features New Providence Dentistry, operated by Dr. Beth Herko and her staff of ...

Avoiding 10% Tax Penalty

Do you want access to money from your retirement accounts but aren't sure of the real costs involved?

Most retirement accounts have a set age requirement you must reach before making penalty-free income distributions, which is usually 59.5 but can sometimes be as early as age 50. If you decide to access your accounts earlier, you could face penalties ranging from 10%-25%, which is not ...

Drive for Autism Foundation to hold Seventeeth annual Drive for Autism Golf Event

July 23, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Drive for Autism Foundation is pleased to announce that its annual golf event Drive for Autism XVII will be held at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, NJ on September 17, 2018.

The Drive for Autism Golf Outing which has been held since 2002 has raised and distributed over $700,000 to local school programs. Previous beneficiaries of grants were ...

Step Up and Build a Stronger Union County

Union County residents who are seeking a meaningful, high-impact way to volunteer in their community can sign up as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties.

The organization is currently seeking volunteer mentors for its best-known program, Community Based Mentoring. The program involves individual mentoring with a local child or teen, age 6 to 18, with a ...

Shakespeare in the Park(ing Lot)

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ — The Shrewd Mechanicals from the New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre will perform Shakespeare Gumbo in the parking lot of Berkeley Heights Public Library, 110 Roosevelt Ave.,  on Friday, July 27, at 7:00 pm. 

Bring lawn chairs.  Change of location will be announced in case of inclement weather.

Mayors Push for Law Permitting Driver's License for Immigrants

July 22, 2018

PERTH AMBOY, NJ - Five mayors from northern and central New Jersey today called for passage of a state law permitting immigrants to get driver's licenses even if they are undocumented, saying it boosts public safety as well as the economy.

"This is important for every resident for a better life and a better life for the state of New Jersey," said Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, July 24, 3:00 PM

Grillestone Restaurant , Scotch Plains

Hear the Story of Amelia Earhart, America's Most ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Tue, July 24, 5:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Summit Area YMCA Swim Team Tryouts July 24th

Health & Wellness


Tue, July 24, 5:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Summit Area YMCA Swim Team Tryouts July 24th

Health & Wellness


Wed, July 25, 1:30 PM

Trailside Nature & Science Center, MountainsidE

Trailside’s Annual Summer Wednesday Matinee ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

Arts & Entertainment


Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Memorial Park, Berkeley Heights

2018 Berkeley Heights Summer Concert Series

Arts & Entertainment

And Over Here is the Dining Hall 2

My very first job in admissions was while I was still an undergraduate myself as a tour guide.  Very early on they indoctrinated us with some tricks of the trade.  It’s a dining hall, not a cafeteria.  A residence hall, not a dorm.  If you have to divulge some negative bit of information, sandwich it between two positives.  There were instructions for glossing over ...

Women Have Special Financial Needs That Advisors Overlook

Women have special financial needs that advisors overlook in two ways: 1) advisors don’t always acknowledge the different planning needs women have and 2) advisors don’t always communicate well with female clients – especially if the client comes to a meeting with her husband. It’s very common for a male advisor to spend much or most of the face time in meetings talking to ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...