TICONDEROGA-A mock accident at Ticonderoga High School last week brought back some painful memories, but that was OK with Dan Herrmann.
"Sometimes kids make bad decisions," Herrmann, a Ti High senior, said. "Drinking and driving is dangerous business. We all know it, but sometimes we don't think things through like we should.
"We've had fatalities here," he continued. "We need to address this issue over and over."
Herrmann, a member of the Putnam Fire Department, arranged the mock accident with the Putnam and Ticonderoga fire companies, Ticonderoga Emergency Squad, Ticonderoga Police Department and school officials. It was held May 13, the day before the school prom.
"It seemed like a good time to give everyone a reminder about the dangers of drinking and driving," said Herrmann, who staged the mock accident as his senior project.
The scene on the front lawn of Ti High had a crashed truck with beer cans scattered about. The driver, portrayed by Tyler Tucker, was wandering about dazed and intoxicated. A passenger, played by Luke Bartlett, was trapped in the vehicle and had to be extricated by firefighters. Another passenger, portrayed by Nicole Trudeau, had been ejected from the truck and was dead.
Emergency personnel responded to the scene. Victims were treated, an arrest was made and the decreased was placed in a body bag.
"We're doing this just as if it were a real accident," Matt Watts, Ticonderoga assistant fire chief, explained. "We're trying to send a message here about drinking and driving." Watts praised Herrmann for his work in arranging the mock accident and his commitment to the Putnam Fire Department.
"I think Dan's shown a lot of initiative here," Watts said. "This was all his idea."
Herrmann said memories of a 2008 alcohol-related accident in Putnam involving Ti High students sparked his desire to stage the mock crash.
Following an April 20, 2008, party Dustin St. Andrews, who was then 17, took a group of partygoers on a car ride that ended with a crash that killed Shannon James, 16, of Ticonderoga, and Michaella Lopes, 16, of Enosburg, Vt.
The Washington County district attorney's office said Dustin St. Andrews acted with "depraved indifference to human life" before the crash by driving while intoxicated and under the influence of marijuana and driving 132 mph before his vehicle careened off Route 22 and flipped over several times.
Dustin St. Andrews was convicted of first-degree vehicular manslaughter and is serving a 2 1/2 to 7 1/2-year prison sentence. He was denied parole when he became eligible and is eligible for release in December 2012.
The crash prompted an investigation and prosecution of his parents, Jimmy Joe and Kellie St. Andrews, who authorities said were present for the party.
The St. Andrewses pleaded not guilty and went to trial, where both were convicted of misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child. Mrs. St. Andrews was convicted of an additional charge of unlawfully dealing with a child.
The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court later threw out the misdemeanor conviction against Jimmy Joe St. Andrews, but upheld the convictions against his wife, Kellie St. Andrews.
Mrs. St. Andrews was sentenced to 60 days in Washington County Jail, three years probation and 100 hours of community service.