DWI simulation at Albion school sends message to make safety a priority

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 June 2023 at 3:44 pm

‘This is an amazing part of your life but I want you to be safe and smart – and not just for prom and graduation season, but for a long time to come.’ – HS Principal Jenn Ashbery

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Albion firefighters and paramedics from Monroe Ambulance take Albion student Miranda Gebo on a stretcher this morning as part of a simulation showing the dangers of driving while drunk.

Gebo portrayed the injured driver of a vehicle that was hit by a drunk driver.

First responders with help from five Albion students simulated a crash this morning. They were sending a message about the importance of making good choices and not driving while intoxicated or under the influence of marijuana or drugs. Albion’s prom is this evening at Hickory Ridge in Holley. Students also are expected to attend many graduation parties and other gatherings this summer.

The two vehicles in the crash were provided by Mike and Joe Quill from Quill Diesel Repair and Towing in Barre Center.

Albion Fire Chief Jeremy Graham checks on the one of the students, Samantha Basinait. She suffered fatal injuries in the crash, as portrayed in the simulation. She was a passenger in a vehicle that was driven by Nick Andrews, left. Another student, Maya Knaak, checks on the driver in the other vehicle.

Nick Andrews tries to walk straight as part of a field sobriety test administered by Cory Martindale, an Orleans County Sheriff’s deputy.

Natalie Baron, a senior at Albion, is taken by stretcher to an ambulance.

Scott Schmidt, the Orleans County chief coroner, would declare Basinait deceased as part of the simulation.

Students would gathering in the LGI in the high school after the simulation. Matt Prawel, an Orleans County deputy sheriff and Albion’s school resource officer, discussed “Red Watch Bands” which were given to the students to remind them about the dangers of toxic drinking deaths.

Boys (men) are in danger of losing consciousness if they have five or more alcoholic drinks in two hours, while girls (women) could suffer alcohol poisoning with four or more drinks within two hours.

Mary Wright, a prevention educator with GCASA, urged the group to look after each other, and call for help immediately if they see someone who is vomiting from alcohol, or if they don’t respond when shouted at, if they have very slow breathing, can’t stand up, have pale/bluish skin or an irregular/slow pulse.

“Alcohol overdose is a serious medical emergency,” she told the group of about 80 students.

Albion Town Justice Gary Moore sentences Nick Andrews to 5 to 8 years in state prison for aggravated vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated. Andrews, when he’s released from prison, also will need to use an inter-lock ignition device for a year that measures his BAC before starting a vehicle.

Orleans County District Attorney Joe Cardone, center, said incarceration was needed given the reckless disregard for others and lapse in judgement from Andrews that will have “a tremendous impact” on Basinait’s family and friends.

“He truly has remorse for what he did,” Cardone said about Andrews in the simulated sentencing. “He will have a heavy burden on his shoulders the rest of his life.”

Cardone spoke to the group and congratulated them on all of their hard work over years to be on the cusp of graduation.

He urged them to use good judgement as they enjoy the upcoming period of celebrations.

High School Principal Jenn Ashbery told the students they are loved and cherished.

“This is an amazing part of your life but I want you to be safe and smart – and not just for prom and graduation season, but for a long time to come,” she told the group.