By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Northborough/ Southborough – Three Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS) juniors were looking forward to a summer hanging out with their friends and then senior year before heading off to college and a lifetime of adult responsibilities. But one bad decision – to drink and drive – has left one facing criminal charges, one paralyzed and another dead.
Fortunately for the three students – Bobby Campbell, Brennan Burns and Taylor O’Connell – and their families and friends, the above is not a true story. Rather the three were part of a re-enactment in the ARHS parking lot today that showcased the ramifications of what might happen if an inexperienced young driver gets behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.
Becca Haberman, a guidance counselor and Students against Destructive Decisions (SADD) advisor explained the premise.
“Juniors portray several students who get someone to purchase alcohol for them at [at a local store],” e said. “They then get into an accident where one of the kids, Taylor, dies. Brennan is paralyzed and Bobby, who was the drunk driver, is arrested.”
Members of the Northborough and Southborough Police, Fire and EMS departments participated as well.
The “accident” and its aftermath was simulcast into the school's gym for the rest of the student population to watch as it happened, Haberman said. Groups of students also took turns going outside to view the scene. During the remainder of the day representatives from the Worcester County District Attorney's office were scheduled to hold a “trial” to show what happens after a situation such as the mock accident.
Haberman noted that school has always had a SADD chapter but it was the tragic accident six years ago that killed two Northborough sisters and severely injured another girl, which really precipitated the school's decision to hold accident re-enactments.
“After that a few students came to me and said we really need to do something to reach kids so this doesn's happen again,” she said.
Nikki Fox and Cassidy Tatten played the parts of two backseat passengers in one of the cars.
“I wasn's expecting to be so nervous and emotional,” Cassidy said. “But it was so realistic. We had “blood” all over us and the car windows are smashed. Where we were sitting there was some broken glass. ”
“We actually found ourselves crying,” Nikki added, “especially when they took Taylor out on the stretcher.”
“I definitely think that this has helped show the effects of drinking and driving,” Cassidy said. “It helps to see the visuals and see the destruction that can happen.”
Mel Laughton, an assistant principal at the school praised all of the student actors for their work.
“They did a great job and maybe even saved a life today,” he said. “We are also grateful to all of the professionals who participated.”
“We are here to educate our kids but safety is also a top priority. Definitely this is the time of year when things like this are really on everyone's mind,” he added. “Kids will be kids but we want to help keep them safe.”