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Wakefield Students Get a Lesson and Plea Against Drunk Driving

Posted February 13, 2007

— The Wake County Sheriff’s Office made a special trip to Wakefield High School on Tuesday to lecture students on the dangers of drinking and driving.

The deputies’ visit followed a string of deadly crashes involving Wakefield students.

“Keep your arms down by your side and when you get to the ninth step, turn around and come back and do the same thing. You understand? Begin,” Master Deputy R.D. Davis told a group of students.

The students wore impaired-vision goggles that are the equivalent of having three times the legal limit of blood alcohol for drivers. With each step, they learned what it's like to take a field sobriety test while under the influence.

The students thought it was funny, of course, but many at Wakefield have learned the hard way that drunk driving is no laughing matter.

"It really doesn't seem like the kids are getting the picture because it happens every year," student Lauren DiGirolamo said.

Last month, 18-year-old senior Sadiki Young, a popular student-athlete, was killed when the car he was riding in hit a curb and went off the road. Investigators said the driver had been drinking.

Less than a year ago, four other Wakefield students were killed in an alcohol-related crash off the U.S. 64 bypass.

“We're here because we care," Davis told the group. He said he asked the principal if he could come to the school to talk about drinking and driving because he has seen so many students die.

"There does not need to be another incident or another victim at this particular high school," Davis said.

In Davis’ demonstration, students experienced first-hand what happens to someone suspected of drinking and driving. Their school knows too well the price of one bad choice.

The sheriff's office hopes what Davis could teach will be a life-saving lesson.

Wake County leads the state in alcohol-related arrests and wrecks, according to sheriff's officials.

In 2005, more than 1,500 people died on North Carolina roads. Of those, 36 percent were alcohol-related.

14 Comments

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  • sdd82nd Feb 14, 4:08 p.m.

    Brilliant!

  • hollylama Feb 14, 3:47 p.m.

    Yeah, it does go back onto the parents. My nephews are instructed by their parents to demand to be let out of the car if their friends are driving recklessly. When the father drinks, the wife (who doesn't drink) drives...the parents have to set the example.

  • sdd82nd Feb 14, 3:45 p.m.

    Doesn't alcohol affect your motor skills as well as your ability to balance, never mind judgment? What use is it to show students that this is what happens when you drink? Eyesight is not the only thing affected.

    It still conveys something at least.

  • Air Biscuit Feb 14, 3:43 p.m.

    The sad thing about blood and guts education is that kids are so immune to it now because of video games and the like. My experience has been that when we showed the actual videos of crashes, a handful of the kids laughed. One video was from a traffic camera showing a pedestrian getting hit by a drunk driver...one kid commented, "cool!".

    Still, some exposure is better than no exposure. I do, however, adamantly believe that parental modeling is the best driver education available...nothing, and I mean nothing, can replace it...teachers can't teach enough, DMV can't enforce enough, and funeral after funeral will not reach kids unless parents are practicing what they preach. I have a neighbor whose son was killed in a DWI crash, and his other son has multiple DWIs, license revoked, and multiple crashes...and the father still buys the kid new cars and lets the son drive...and dad is not much better on the road.

  • nursevb8 Feb 14, 1:23 p.m.

    Kids and parents alike need to be taught the tough way when the situation gets out of control as this has. They need all the guts and none of the glory. It doesn't matter if you are rich or what kind of a car you drive, SUV or BMW or old Honda, they'll all go fast enough to do damage. How many parents have went to a party and driven home, or guests have left their home? How many parents have had a couple and had to make a quick run somewhere. It happens, many of are guilty of it, but ALL must learn the possible consequences' and it seems like it is a little more prevalent at Wakefield lately. Tougher teaching and blood and guts and loss should work a little better. Bring in the families of the kids that just died, let them talk.

  • Panther Feb 14, 1:16 p.m.

    rswood1107 is correct, until parents take responsibility this problem will continue. Children learn by example. Let your child run with a looser and they will be a looser! Let them run with winners they will also be a winner! The old adage of “do as I say not as I do is why parents don’t understand when the officer shows up at the door telling them the awful news. Take responsibility!

  • Air Biscuit Feb 14, 1:06 p.m.

    As a North Carolina public school driver ed teacher, I have a few remarks:

    1) We, as teachers, do everything possible to educate children about drunk driving: we use videos, the goggles that are featured in this story, guest speakers, testimonies, and our system even has a state trooper who shows videos and photos of DWI crashes. However, IF THE PARENTS DO NOT BACK US UP BY PRACTICING GOOD DRIVING IN FRONT OF THEIR KIDS, OUR WORK IS POINTLESS.

    2) I cannot count the number of times a kid has told me his/her parent said, "I don't care what your driver ed teacher says, this is how I do things!" Parents, if you model bad driving in front of your kids, don't piss and moan when they get hurt or killed in a crash. They do what they see you do---whether you like it or not.

    3) mrsgaskill--yes, kids laugh at stuff, but we have to get the point across in any way possible---PARENTS ARE NOT DOING IT!

  • jonbroome Feb 14, 12:53 p.m.

    BTW lovecarolinagutters, Sadiki Young was killed riding in a 2001 Ford Escort, not a 'fast sports car'.

  • jonbroome Feb 14, 12:45 p.m.

    My step-son goes to Wakefield, we're NOT rich and he's not spoiled. I love how everyone assumes because you live in the Wakefield area that you make tons of money and then give your kids BMWs and Mercedes. He drives a beat up '93 Honda Accord to school that he paid for himself. He knows how dangerous driving can be because his own father died in a car accident years ago.

    Don't just assume that because the kids laugh at others walking funny with goggles on that they didn't get the message. Trust me, when students tell other students that they had a friend who died drinking and driving, it'll hit home with them too. What's the sherrif's office supposed to do, NOTHING??

    It could just as easily be Garner High or Broughton or Enloe in the news instead of Wakefield. Please, don't criticize unless you have a better plan of action, ok? If you do, then enlighten us all.

  • ltbarkley Feb 14, 12:45 p.m.

    Incidentally, did you know alcohol-related does _NOT_ mean the driver was intoxicated? We have been programmed to believe this, but alcohol-related can mean anything from the driver being intoxicated to the passengers being the ones that are drunk. If a car hits a beer truck, that would also be classified as alcohol-related. Keep that in mind next time you read a story about a alcohol-related accident. Education of High Schoolers is important, though. Just wanted to mention the alcohol-related bit...

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