Athletic Boosters brings Awareness to Dangerous and Destructive Decisions


Emily Lotito

Shock Trauma Nurse Deborah Yohn talking to students about her experience as a nurse.

by Emily Lotito, Editor in Chief

On April 25, the Athletic Boosters sponsored a student assembly  presented by PADDD, Positive Alternatives to Dangerous and Destructive Decisions, to seniors, juniors, and sophomores.

PADDD’s mission is to provide the best ‘Impaired and Reckless Driving Prevention’ classes in the State of Maryland and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic, with the sole intent of preventing traumatic injury and death due to motor vehicle crashes. 

The idea to sponsor PADDD stemmed from one parent, Mrs. Carolyn Coletti. While in high school, her school held an assembly just like PADDD did and she thought it would be a good idea to have something similar at Linganore. It’s appropriate to have this discussion now with prom, graduation, and senior week approaching.

Frederick County Sheriff’s Office’s Lieutenant Rector was first to talk to the students. To start the conversation of making safe decisions, he talked about a drunk driving accident that resulted in the death of a girl from the community.

Her date was drunk driving, was speeding and crashed the car. The car went airborne and hit two trees. The driver, two of their friends, and a dog made it out alive with severe injuries, but, sadly, the girl died. But Lieutenant Rector made the point that she was not drunk. She made a bad decision to let the boy drive while intoxicated which resulted in her death.  

Corporal Nathan Eckart showing crime scene pictures to students. (Emily Lotito)

The officer also talked about a motorcycle and tractor trailer accident that resulted in the death of the motorcyclist. The description of the accident was very detailed with photos.  The point of this was to emphasize that even drivers who are not impaired can be distracted, and motorcycles are difficult to see.

“It was really sad and I almost wanted to go cry. It made me sick to my stomach. It was really eye opening and graphic but I think that’s how you get people to see the truth now,” junior Chloe Trevino said.

Thirty-year resident Shock Trauma Nurse Deborah Yohn was next to speak. She talked about being a nurse but also her experience with drunk driving. A friends driving drunk and going 102 mph and hydroplaned. The car crashed, and Yohn survived and had little injuries but her friend died on the way to the hospital.

Yohn shared a heartbreaking experience in her family. Her cousin was in the back yard with her 3 year old son. A drunk driver and passenger made a sharp turn which led them to smash through the back yard. The 3 year old was caught under the car and was killed. The cousin held her baby close as he died in her arms. Her 7-year-old daughter became mute for almost a year.

According to Yohn, Jenny had to have her face stitched back together and was called a ‘baby murderer’ in the community after she got out of the hospital. A couple years later, Jenny and her friends were hill hopping while drunk; the car crashed. Jenny and four of the other passengers died in the crash. Only Jenny’s little brother survived the crash; he was the only passenger wearing a seat belt and was in the back of the car. 

Senior Gabby Diaz said,”It was really depressing. I felt so bad for the daughter, having to experience something that was traumatic. I felt for the cousin and her family. It was very eye-opening. I was inspired by how Debbie used a traumatic experience in her life and now works as a trauma nurse because of it.”

The last speaker was a car crash survivor and traumatic brain injury survivor. After using drugs, Judy crashed a vehicle with friends in the passenger seat.  She was in a coma for six weeks and had to go through rehab for months to be able to walk, talk, and be able to function by herself. After shock trauma, she was brought to a therapy center in New Jersey  where she had speech therapy, walking therapy, and a speech pathologist. She was there for a year. 

“I think she had a good story and you could clearly see the consequences;  She has a walking stick and her speech was slurred. She also had a funny personality which made kids want to listen to her,” sophomore Seth Moses said. 

The purpose of the assembly was not just to tell students not to drink and drive, but to make good decisions. Don’t get into a car with someone who has been drinking. Don’t let that person drive. Take action and keep yourself safe.