Maureen Lynch, Superintendent
115 Amesbury Line Road
Haverhill, MA 01830
For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 30, 2019
Contact: Jessica Sacco
Whittier Conducts Mock Crash to Illustrate Dangers of Impaired Driving Ahead of Prom, Graduation
HAVERHILL — Whittier seniors learned a valuable lesson about the dangers of impaired driving following a mock crash held ahead of graduation and prom.
On May 23, a group of seniors — Maya Looker, of Newburyport, Arianna Mak, of Merrimac, Emily Shal, of Amesbury, and Kayla Adams, Tori Kitchings, and Cailyn Merrill, all of Haverhill –participated in a realistic fatal motor vehicle crash.
The annual event is designed to demonstrate the serious dangers of drinking or doing drugs before getting behind the wheel of a car.
To start off the skit, seniors headed outside to the parking lot where the sound of two cars crashing played over loud speakers. Students then saw two vehicles that were involved in a head-on crash.
Haverhill Fire and Police Departments arrived on the scene with lights and sirens blaring. They immediately began extricating passengers from the cars and administering field sobriety tests to the driver, played by Shal. She was later determined to be under the influence of alcohol and placed under arrest by police.
As the scene unfolds, passengers are pulled from the vehicles, including Mak, who was pronounced dead on the scene. Special effects makeup was applied by seniors Natalie Harriman, of Groveland, and Evie Sanzo, of Haverhill.
“It felt like it was really happening,” said Looker, who was a passenger in the back seat.“The firefighters were taking it seriously. They sawed the car door off and put me on a stretcher.”
A hearse from Farmer and Sons Funeral Home then quietly arrived to remove the deceased.
“It was very scary,” Mak said. “I felt nervous the whole time and claustrophobic. They put me in the body bag and zipped it up and put a blanket over my head.”
After the crash, students headed to the auditorium to view a film on drunk driving and also listened to an account from Dorothy LaPlante, whose 19-year-old daughter, Elizabeth “Betsie” Hughes and her boyfriend Sean Wellington were killed in 1999 when their vehicle was struck by a drunken driver. They were both seniors at North Middlesex Regional High School.