BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Governor Livingston TREND Executive Board presented a re-enactment of a Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident to the 11th and 12th grade students. The presentation was an ongoing effort by TREND to educate their peers about the dangers of using alcohol and or drugs and also driving while distracted. TREND is run by Student Assistance Counselor, Mr. Bob Segear.

The re-enactment took place on the Governor Livingston High School property. Working closely with School Resource Officer’s Ed Gaffney (BH Police) and Corporal Shaun Bendik (Mountainside PD), Segear also coordinated the activity with the student members of TREND.

Participating in the presentation were members from the Berkeley Heights and Mountainside Police Departments, the Berkeley Heights and Mountainside First Aid and Rescue Squads, the Berkeley Heights Fire Department and DeFalco’s Auto Body.

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Adam DeFalco (owner) had two crash cars brought to the school and were used as the accident vehicles. The scenario was that three high school students were coming home from the movies when the driver received a text message. The driver looked at their phone and crashed into another vehicle, injuring five people and killing one.

The 11th and 12th grade students came outside to hear the 911 phone call and witness the emergency services respond in real time. Segear said that our students had an opportunity to see first-hand how long it actually takes for emergency services to respond, triage the environment, coordinate and work together, safeguard the scene and perform their duties. In addition each emergency service discipline had a microphone to narrate what their personnel was in the act of doing.

Following the accident re-creation, the students came back inside for a follow-up assembly. At this time, they saw a video of the student driver being brought before a judge, sentenced for seven years in prison and taken into custody where she was mugged, printed and place into a jail cell.

Members of TREND then provided driving while distracted statistics. According the National Safety Council: 

  • One out of every four car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.
  • Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk.
  • 263 teens (age 15 to 19) were killed as a result of distracted driving in 2016.

Guest speaker Richie Lapiski was introduced and he spoke to the students about his life as a New Jersey high school athletic and academic standout but how bad decisions and a football injury led him to drug abuse that ended up with him going to prison.

Richie showed the students a power point that displayed photographs and articles about him as a hometown hero but then also included his arrest photos. Richie spoke to the students about his life path and the difficulty of getting and remaining drug free. At the end of his presentation students had a chance to ask him questions. His presentation was very well received.

Segear ended the assembly by reminding the students that they are the class of 2019 and 2020 and they need to look out for one another because they are a part the GLHS family. Segear reminded them of what they had learned today and asked them not to text and drive because the next life they save, could be their own.

The Governor Livingston High TREND Club is always looking for support to continue their effort to keep our student’s drug and alcohol free and keep them safe. If you would like to help please contact Bob Segear, 908-464-3100 ext. 2713 or by email bsegear@bhpsnj.org.