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Crash Drives Home Lesson for Students : News of Accident Was a Somber Safety Message at Capistrano Valley High School

November 06, 1994

Two years ago, in an attempt to impress upon students the importance of safe driving, a mangled car was brought on campus at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo as part of a drama to re-enact a terrible accident. While the sober response of students at the time may have indicated that an impression was made, a real crash earlier this month has prompted some more laudable efforts on campus to educate students about driving safety.

Police said the accident occurred when a senior driving other students to school weaved in and out of rush-hour traffic on Marguerite Parkway, broadsiding a car and hurtling out of control through an intersection. There, it struck two other vehicles and tumbled onto its roof. All six students in the car were injured, some seriously, and four motorists and their passengers also were treated.

To their credit, Principal Jessica Gorman and student body president Ryan Hawkins responded quickly to send a message about the importance of safety on the road. Hawkins, a senior, spoke over the public address system to stress using seat belts. Gorman, who had hoped that the earlier demonstration would deliver a lasting message, distributed a memo to all staff containing information about the accident and reiterated the importance of safe driving at all times.

With the blessing of the administration, Hawkins emphasized allowing more time so that speeding is not necessary. Other students were talking about the need for care in choosing rides, and to recognize that nobody is immortal.

Will the message get through? Who knows how long the attention of students will be held. Credit the school in any case for using the occasion to make points about safety. As a result, many students have been thinking in recent days about the lessons from this accident. They are lessons to be taken to heart by students all across Orange County.

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