CHS Students Experience the ‘Impact of Destructive Decisions’

June 14, 2013


by Len Lathrop

For a third time the Campbell High School students, had their eyes opened about the “Impact of Destructive Decisions,” a program that brings the students a mock accident scenario.  The focus this year focused on texting while driving, where in past years, the dangerous behavior was drinking.

In a brochure about the event, the Mock Accident Committee offered the following information:

  • Texting while driving has now surpassed drinking and driving as the leading cause of death among teens.
  • More than 3,000 teens die annually from texting while driving.
  • The reality is that kids aren’t drinking and driving seven days a week – they are carrying their cell phones and texting while driving seven days a week.
  • Every 90 minutes a young driver or their passenger is killed in a motor vehicle accident, the number 1 cause of death in teens.
  • About 6,000 deaths and a half a million injuries are caused by distracted drivers every year.
  • Answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds.  That is enough time to travel the length of a football field.

Buses from First Student blocked the scene as the students arrived on Monday at 9 a.m. Behind the buses was the mock accident scene.  The driver, portrayed by Leah Stagnone, had been texting, crossed the center line and hit a motorcycle ridden by Richard Baril.  Baril was supine on the payment.  A special effects make up artists was called in to help create artificial head and body trauma.

The students heard an interchange between Stagnone and her passenger, Connor Perry, then the crash.  The buses moved and the site was Stagnone and Perry getting out of their damaged car and viewing the injured Baril on the ground.  Sirens were heard and a Litchfield cruiser arrived, Officer Ben Sargent radioed for emergency medical services and accessed Baril and asked for a stepped up response from Litchfield Fire.  Sargent questioned Stagnone and Perry about their injuries as Litchfield Engine 4 arrived with the crew of Mark Lemay, Colgan Gaumond, Chris Schofield and Seth Miller, who checked the injured and began to administer treatment.  But it was too late for Baril,  he was covered with a white cloth.  A Hudson Ambulance arrived and treated Perry and transported him from the scene.  Shortly after the Hudson Medics had began to treat Perry another car arrives; Baril’s mother, portrayed by Mrs. Kathleen Reilly and teacher from CHS, who had to be restrained by Litchfield Fire and Officer Sargent as she was overcome by the grief of the loss of her son.  During this time, Officer Sargent had questioned Stagnone, handcuffed her, and placed her under arrest.

The students watched as the scene played out and all eyes were on the actors and for the record, no one was texting or even talking.

Next on the site was a hearse from Farwell Funeral Services, who removed Baril’s body.

SRO Michael Cort addressed the students pointing out how just a few seconds truly could cause this type of tragedy.  Principal Laurie Rothhaus cautioned the students about their actions and thanked those who made the mock accident possible.  The junior class was invited to the auditorium for the trial.

The trial was presided over by the honorable Lawrence Warhall, a retire judge from Derry District Court; the prosecutor was Lonni McCarffrey of the Litchfield Police Department.  Office Donnelly portrayed the defense attorney representing Stagnone.  After testimony from the arresting officer and Stagnone, The Honorable Warhall found Stagnone guilty and sentenced her on the recommendation of the prosecutor to seven years in the State of New Hampshire Prison.

Warren’s Auto body who provided the vehicle and motorcycle, Chief Frank Fraitzl and the Litchfield Fire Department, Chief Joseph O’Brion and the Litchfield Police Department, Farewell Funeral Service, Hudson Fire Department, the entire Litchfield School family and the Superintendent Brian Cochrane and School board all made this possible