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Anti-DWI Campaign Drives Awareness at Ward Melville HS

"Crash car" is the actual vehicle from the July 2011 crash that killed a Ward Melville alumna.

The crash car sitting in front of is not just any crash car: it's the vehicle in which Andrea Giattino, a 2010 graduate, was killed by a drunk driver last July.

Giattino's boyfriend, Justin Quaranta, calls the car "a black mark," something that is always difficult to look at. But right now, he said, he knows it has a purpose: helping people understand the dangers of drinking and driving.

"We felt it would have a stronger impact than putting a random car that isn't tied to anybody. It would hit home and maybe make a little bit more of a difference," said Quaranta, who was driving the car the night of the crash.

Since that accident – in which the other driver, who was intoxicated, also died – , a nonprofit dedicated to curtailing tragedies stemming from driving while intoxicated.

Quaranta has been running tables at various Long Island events to promote the foundation's breathalyzer campaign, in which it hopes to make people aware of their own limitations and how those limitations are often overestimated. He said the foundation is also working on a research partnership with Brookhaven National Laboratory.

The foundation also recently donated $5,000 to the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence to support its intervention program. The foundation also established a scholarship at Ward Melville High School and plans to do the same at Suffolk Community College.

The crash car arrived the last week in May and will stay through the summer, Quaranta said, coinciding with the time period where more people die in DWI crashes than any other time period in the year.

"We want to use this to shift the paradigm," he said. "We want to get people talking about drinking and driving when it actually matters."

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Marji Berkowitz June 26, 2012 at 05:32 PM
One of my most vivid memories of driver's ed class at Ward Melville, is the opening movie about driving and drinking. Hopefully this wreck will drive the message home to the totally irresponsible! MLB, Class of 1975
Republican until i die. June 27, 2012 at 06:26 PM
People if it saves lives it is the right thing to do..Drunk driving is a dangerous activity with consequences
paul botticelli July 01, 2012 at 02:39 PM
We are all left with a feeling of powerlessness when forced to experience the tragic loss of someone we love. Justin's efforts to start the non-profit is a great idea, and maybe the "crash car" is something that just has to be done. I remember at my high school though, in 1963! We also had the Driver's Ed film, "Death on the Highway!" We all spoke about it, told the "spook stories" of other teens who died in crashes - and then we all drank and drove anyway. We believed, as most everyone does, that we are "not that drunk". The sad truth is alcohol involved traffic deaths have always hovered @ 50%. Tho' the total number of yearly traffic fatalities from all causes has come down from @ 60K to @ 30K in the U.S., alcohol still plays its deadly contributing role. Our culture's overall obsession with "getting high" with pot, pills, booze, etc.,is the real enemy. Depending upon your sub-culture, it is more prevalent to use than to not use. Choosing an alcohol and drug-free lifestyle seems to imply either weirdness or that you are "in recovery" - rather than a 3rd choice - simply that you do not want to contribute dollars and energy to support a product - legal or otherwise - that takes a huge toll in peoples' lives. I don't know of a billboard, or a crash car, or any kind of visual display that could convey that message effectively. Somehow or other, we need to be the "walking and talking billboards" - not by obnoxious proselytizing, but by just living as a "power of example".
paul botticelli July 01, 2012 at 02:43 PM
BTW: I am not including the "crash car" as "obnoxious proselytizing". An example of that would be more like the Women's Christian Temperance League - of many days gone by.
Lisa July 01, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Kudos Paul.Maybe if we all start role modeling that it's just not about driving and drinking....it's about drinking as a drug . I haven't met a student at Ward Melville yet that says "oh I'm intersted in learning about pairing up my meal with the correct wine or beer "We seem to be missing the point as a community
Ashley July 23, 2012 at 10:29 PM
It's disgusting and tasteless that they have that car sitting on the lawn. That school did nothing for Andrea when she was there but ignore and oppress her. They didn't give a damn about her until they could use the car she dies in to showboat their "activism". And the sign next to it, the one that says "keep your stupidity to yourself" is DISGUSTING! Andrea wasn't drunk. She didn't drink, didn't smoke pot, was a totally clean-cut girl. She wasn't even a student when she died; that prison has no right even dropping her name, let alone tactlessly displaying the car she died in. Andrea's friends are greatly upset by this display. Not because it is a reminder of their loss, but because Andrea wouldn't have wanted her death to be some soap box for the school to stand on. I'm glad somebody spray painted over that sign. Andrea was all about peace and love; making an example out of an innocent teen's death is NOT peace or love!

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