Northbound I-5, north of Highway 165, down to 1 lane due to an overturned big rig

Local

Staged DUI Arrest

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A staged drunk driving arrest is getting mixed reaction at a local high school. Administrators at San Joaquin Memorial working with Fresno police set up the fake arrest to show kids the dangers of drinking and driving.

This morning juniors and seniors were told the truth about the alleged drunk driving incident...That it was all a hoax. The principal says he's not apologizing for the education the kids got about drinking and driving.

One student caught the fake drunk driving arrest on tape. Standout Water Polo player Kevin Van Gundy getting arrested in front of the school at lunch time Wednesday for being under the influence. Van Gundy says his friends were both relieved and mad Thursday morning when they found out the truth.

Kevin Van Gundy said, "I've gotten a bunch of angry hugs. Kinda like, I'm so glad you're not in jail, but man that sucks, you know."

The real story was revealed during an assembly this morning, when Van Gundy faced a Fresno Superior Court Judge, just like he would have if it were real. Not even the teachers knew the truth until the principal sent out this email late Wednesday explaining the DUI lesson.

Principal Ed Borges says despite the now controversial educational tool, he'd do it again and he told the students just that. Borges said, "I told the kids, I'm not apologizing for getting you upset or making you angry or your parents angry, because if it saves one life, it's worth it."

Administrators kept the secret overnight on purpose, so students would go home and tell their parents. Counselor Debbie Arceo helped plan the mock arrest. Arceo said, "We were hoping to get the dialogue going between families among families and getting them to talk about drinking and driving because if it could happen to this great kid on campus that you would not suspect, it can happen to anyone."

One parent who contacted action news and didn't want to be identified said quote "I think the desired effect was not achieved. Parents and students were left devastated for 24 hours. It was traumatic and shocking."

Police Chief Jerry Dyer says sometimes a shock is what students need. Dyer said, "I think what happened today was that people got a rude awakening, some people were upset, people were in tears. But the outcome was people came to a reality that drunk driving impacts everyone."

Van Gundy isn't sure he'd participate again. The exceptional student who carries a 4.3 GPA says many students were really shaken up and he feels bad. "I think it stung a little bit more than it had to. I think keeping the students in the dark over night for so long just kinda leaves a bitter taste in their mouth towards the whole situation as opposed to being able to listen to the message they were a little bit angry at the administration or at me or at the program that it was just a little bit too harsh for some of them."

The lesson was planned this week to make students think twice because the winter formal is this weekend. The principal says this issue is very personal to him, since his brother was killed in a drunk driving accident years ago.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

abc30 News Links:
Links to other news sections on our website.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Breaking News Alerts:
Click Here to Sign-Up for Breaking News E-Mail Alerts
Receive Breaking News alerts in your email inbox.


Click Here to Sign-Up for Text Message Alerts
Receive Breaking News alerts right on your cell phone.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Get more Local »


Tags:
local, sontaya rose
blog comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement