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Responders, Students Simulate DWI Crash [VIDEO]

National educational program 'Every 15 Minutes' comes to Madison High School for the first time.

A national program designed to educate students about the dangers of drunk driving came to on Monday.

Clergy from and , , , film crews and makeup artists from and a medevac helicopter all played a part in the program, called "Every 15 Minutes."

The program has relied heavily on student and parent involvement, with about 40 students playing the roles of drunk driving accident victims. Their parents wrote mock obituaries, which were read to their classmates.

In the afternoon, a realistic DWI accident simulation played out in a high school parking lot for juniors and seniors.

Borough police Officer Chad Rybka proposed bringing the program to Madison this year, and found the department and school district enthusiastically supported the idea, he said. Superintendent Dr. Michael Rossi said he experienced the program while he was in Roxbury schools.

"If it makes one kid, one night make a good decision it will all be worth it," Rybka said.

California resident Jill Elliott flew in to talk to students for the program. Elliott's daughter, Rachel, died in a drunk driving accident at the age of 18. When Jill Elliott was 18 herself, her car was hit from behind by a drunk driver. Two of her friends who were in her car were killed in the crash.

She said she hopes students who have a sense of how serious the trauma from car accidents can be won't worry about "feeling awkward" if they have to insist friends give up their keys or call a cab.

"The purpose of the program is to illustrate the total impact of what happens," Rossi said. "Not just to the drivers and those that are involved, but the families and the community."

Roy March 20, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I think this is outstanding!!!!!! I wish we coild do something in Parsippany like this but....... we no longer have school resorce officers. Our town and Department I guess didnt see the need any more and thats one place where the budget cuts hit! !! Its pretty sad if you ask me ...a town the size of Parsipany with multiple schools and no resorce officers. I dont blame the police dep AT ALL. I blame the Mayor and town councel for allowing the cut to be made. After our two resorce officers we had retired .....they were never replaced.
Lisa Ellis March 20, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I want to thank Dr. Rossi, Mr. Robertson, Chief Trevena, Officer Chad Rybka, Chief DeRosa, Mayor Conley, all school district personnel and all first responders (Police, Fire, EMT), Atlantic Health, Morristown Medical Center, Hyatt Morristown at Headquarters Plaza, Project Community Pride, MAASA, local clergy and court officials, parents and students – everyone who participated in this presentation, Madison’s first, of the national “Every Fifteen Minutes” program. A tremendous amount of time, energy and effort went into this program and it was extraordinarily well planned, coordinated and executed. Madison High School, juniors and seniors, experienced the full breadth of the devastation that can result from just a single bad decision. We as a community can never adequately thank, Jill Elliot, the mother from California who tragically lost her daughter because of the willful negligence of an adult drunk driver. Her courage in the face of such tremendous loss is humbling and inspiring; those who heard her speak this morning will never forget the experience.
Madison Cyclist March 20, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Kudos to all involved in this very worthwhile project.
Peter Raneri March 21, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Truly an "eye opener" for all involved. Thanks Madison's finest and the other town services with this collective effort to get "the point across" for safety - for our students.
Mitch Perry March 22, 2012 at 02:54 PM
A tremendous activity that my son characterized as one of the most meaningful things he's ever done. This will have a lasting impact on the participants, parents and hopefully many others for a long time. Officers Chad Rybka & Lisa Esposito spent months of planning, coordination and time bringing together municipal agencies, first responders, Morristown Hospital, and numerous other volunteers for this project. Kudos to those who made the scenario and participants as lifelike as possible. And the unsung hero award to the FDU film crews who worked all day and through the night to get the rough cut video ready for the Tuesday morning "memorial service".
Robin Olds March 25, 2012 at 07:29 AM
This program looks like it took a great amount of planning, I'm glad to hear it went well for all involved. Officer Rybka reflected great credit upon his department and community policing as a whole.

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