Holley first responders stage DWI accident to send powerful message to students

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2024 at 5:34 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Sierra Apicella and her brother Xander are asked to look into a body bag where their younger sister Jasmine was pretending to be dead. Jasmine had makeup on her face to look like blood.

Chief County Coroner Scott Schmidt is at right. Holley police officer A.J. Fisher is at left.

Holley first responders staged a driving while intoxicated accident in front of the junior-senior high school. There were six students who were in the accident. Five had injuries and Jasmine was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sierra Apicella, 22, is overcome with emotion after seeing her sister lying motionless and pretending to be fatally injured in a car accident. Her brother, 25, also said it was difficult to see their younger sister in such a state.

“It was shocking,” Sierra said after the simulation. “It was a lot more than we thought.”

Lance Babcock has a neck brace as he led to an ambulance. About 75 Holley students watched from bleachers in the parking lot.

Holley did the simulation this morning. The junior-senior prom is tonight at the Ridgemont Country Club in Rochester.

Students were strongly encouraged not to drink and drive, and to be careful in the upcoming season of graduation parties. That includes any distracted driving, including texting and being overly tired.

Holley and Clarendon firefighters take the windshield out of a vehicle to try to extricate two students inside.

Gallo’s Performance Auto Parts donated an Infinity and Mazda to simulate the crash. The Village of Holley DPW brought a loader over this morning to smash up the vehicles to make them look like there had been an accident.

Holley police officers have Noah St. John do a field sobriety test to see if he can walk in a straight line. The Holley officers Jacob Buzard is at left and AJ Fisher is at right.

St. John said he considered it an honor to be part of the simulation, showing the serious consequences that can occur from drunk driving.

Lorenzo Zaragoza is taken by stretcher to a Monroe Ambulance to be transported.

Before going outside to see the simulation, Holley students saw a video that showed where some of the students pretended to be at a party, drinking alcohol. One student tried to stop them from getting in a car and driving.

The video then went to black, and then there was a 911 call about a two-vehicle accident in Murray with serious injuries.

Murray Fire Chief Rick Cary told students to show respect and look out for each other. Cary said car accidents with teen-agers are very difficult for the volunteer firefighters, who often have children of their own. He said the accidents are often avoidable.

“Guys, it’s up to you,” Cary told the students.

Holley has doing the simulation around prom and graduation season nearly every year for about 25 years, Cary said.

There also was a court proceeding in the school auditorium where St. John was arraigned on charges of felony aggravated vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated, facing likely imprisonment when he is sentenced.

Orleans County District Attorney Joe Cardone acted as the judge with assistant district attorney Susan Howard, left, the prosecutor and Elizabeth Ogden, an assistant district attorney who served as public defender. Holley police officer A.J. Fisher is at right.