Teens Hurt In Crash

Josh Lawrence / Susan Rosenbaum | April 2, 1998

An accident involving a 14-year-old driver and possibly alcohol sent three young teenagers to the hospital Sunday afternoon. Charges against the underaged driver are pending from the East Hampton Town Police Department's Juvenile Aid Bureau.

Because of their ages, police did not release the names of the driver or her two female passengers, aged 13 and 15. All three are local students.

The accident occurred around 5:35 p.m. on Hand's Creek Road in East Hampton. The 14-year-old lost control of the Honda sedan she was driving, police said, and veered into a tree at the corner of Wooded Oak Lane.

"Evidence Of Alcohol"

All three girls complained of head pain and were taken to Southampton Hospital.

The young driver had not yet been charged with anything as of press time, although Capt. Todd Sarris of the East Hampton Town Police said there was "strong evidence of alcohol being involved."

Coincidentally, the East Hampton High School student body spent the better part of Monday afternoon in the auditorium discussing drunken driving, at a program sponsored by the Parent Teacher Association.

School officials deemed the subject matter, presented in a multimedia tape, slide, and rock-audio show, important enough to alter the day's class schedule.

"There were a lot of heavy messages," said one East Hampton student after the program. "There's a lot of stress."

Now And The Future

The day's lesson: Don't drink and drive; don't smoke pot and drink, don't do drugs. It could kill or injure you or someone else.

"Drunken driving is the nation's most frequently committed violent crime," said Theresa Trouve, the principal, introducing the program with facts compiled by MADD, Mothers Against Drunken Driving.

The rock and video presentation urged students to become leaders in rejecting alcohol and drugs, to look after themselves, their friends, and their parents, and to remember that "if you live only for now, you have no future."

The tape included a dramatic vignette about a teenaged babysitter caring for a 5-year-old in her own home.

The child's mother arrives, drunk, to pick up her son. The teenager refuses to give him into her care, and sends her away.

The mother subsequently crashes her car and dies.

Two speakers whose lives had been changed by drunken drivers addressed the students. One was left with permanent injuries after almost being killed. The other's sister was killed by a drunken driver.

Two Of Five

"At least half the students drink, or do pot," James Stewart, a health teacher, said that day.

"We have to raise awareness of the drinking," said Beth White, the PTA president.

Two out of five Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives, said the high school principal, again citing MADD's statistics.

And, she said, four times as many Americans died in drunken-driving crashes in the past decade alone as were killed in the Vietnam War.