DA Gulluni hosts ‘Stop the Swerve’ to caution local youth about dangers of distracted driving

SPRINGFIELD – Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni hosted “Stop the Swerve: An Event to Prevent Impaired Driving” on Thursday night.

The event, held at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, was designed to educate area youth about the perils of impaired driving and included a slew of interactive activities and educational opportunities.

One of those opportunities was the chance to talk to Massachusetts State Troopers and other law enforcement officials, who were present to discuss impaired driving and the psychological and physical effects of intoxicants.

Teens also had a chance to play a drunken driving simulator game, and to try out special goggles meant to simulate the experience of being inebriated. While wearing the goggles, students attempting to do physical activities like play catch, walk in a straight line, or shoot hoops.

The big event of the night, however, was a short film and billboard contest involving entries from area high school students–all of whom had the opportunity to create public service announcements (PSAs) and billboards earlier this year that focus on the dangers of impaired driving.

The night also included a viewing of all of the films before the winners of the contest were officially announced.

The schools that won were awarded financial grants that will go towards helping the winning schools’ upgrade their technological equipment. First place winner was awarded a $10,000 grant, second place awarded a $5,000 grant, and third place awarded a $2,500 grant.

The PSA winners were as follows:

  • 1st Place Winner – Agawam High School, for the entry “More Than Yourself”, created by Jake Wieners. Participants included Ben Vyce, Sammy Downs, Gabriella Harrison, Johnny Kelley, Bailey Laviolette, Katie Grasso, Garret Hollander, and Zack Wieners.
  • 2nd Place Winner – Westfield Technical Academy, for the entry “No Discussion”, created by Elijah White, Alberto Morales, and Starlet Moore.
  • 3rd Place Winner – Chicopee Comprehensive High School, for the entry “Not Just Numbers”, created by the students supervised by Wade Wofford.

Billboard Winner:

  • 1st Place ($10,000 Grant) – Longmeadow High School’s “Don’t Let Alcohol Drown You. Driver Sober”, created by Vivian Li, Sylvia Mueller, and Noelle Ehrenberg.

The first place video, “More Than Yourself” by Jake Wieners, is also expected to air on 22News over the next month.

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