'Jessica's story' reminds Lower Merion students to drive safe
LOWER MERION TWP., Pa. - May 10, 2012 (WPVI) -- Prom season is upon us, and at Lower Merion High School, it is the 6th anniversary of a tragedy that rocked the entire school community.
Officials are hoping that exposing today's students to that terrible event will prevent it from happening again.
On most days, when a teacher plays a video in class, it is considered a break; a welcome diversion.
But the video the students viewed on Thursday was by no means welcome.
"When I looked out the window, I saw a police car and two policemen walking up the steps."
The video is about the moments before and after the death of its unwitting star, Lower Merion High School student Jessica Easter, who died in 2006 at age 16.
She was one of several passengers in the car. The driver was drunk.
"We all knew Steven was buzzed, so we decided to let him drive around the circle to see if he could drive us home," the voice on the video says.
The accident happened just 10 minutes from where Jessica lived and just a few miles from Lower Merion High School.
But 7 years later, Jessica's story still resonates with students, none of whom have met her.
"We recognize the street it was on, and we know people who could have been in that situation. It could have been us," said Hillary Hoffstein.
"These kids are exactly the same as you," says Brad Richman.
Montgomery County Prosecutor Brad Richman, along with District Attorney Risa Ferman have been giving this talk for years, showing the personal side of their prosecutions in this video co-produced by 6abc.
This time their audience was not just teenaged children, but for many the presentation was more personal.
Breaking a long, often angry, silence, Jessica's mom Jeanette decided to make sure the story in the video was for these students what it has been for her, as raw as it gets.
"That's really what I want, to make some good come out of her passing," said Jeannette Easter.
"Her mom being here this time, you imagine your mom standing up there, your friends' mom standing up there," said Robbie Warshaw.
A lesson every family would rather learn through video presentation rather than a tragic accident.
DUI, school, montgomery county, pennsylvania, local/state, brian taff
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