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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Drunk Driving Film Seeks Victims’ Stories

By James Lomuscio

Student documentary makers are looking for Westporters to share their own cautionary stories about the dangers of drunk driving. Narratives can range from having been in an accident to losing a friend or family member to drunk driving, even to being arrested for driving under the influence. Image
A wrecked car was placed in front of Staples High School on an earlier Grim Reaper Day. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Galen Blumenthal for

The filmmakers are members of the Teen Awareness Group (TAG), a Staples High School club focusing on issues teenagers face from social pressures to body image to stress to drugs and alcohol.

“Each year, we put on Grim Reaper Day, a day dedicated to preventing drinking and driving, especially during the prom season,” said Alexandra O’Kane, TAG team secretary. “We create a documentary each year, and right now we are trying to recruit people who have stories about drinking and driving and how it has affected their lives.”

Christopher Lemone, a student outreach counselor for the town’s Department of Human Services and TAG team co-adviser, said that the film will be shown to the entire student body in two back-to-back assemblies during Grim Reaper Day to be held on a weekday, still undecided, prior to the junior prom May 18. In addition to the film, Grim Reaper Day will feature a guest speaker, still to be decided, and discussions, he said.

“We’re in the process of filming people now, but we find as we go along that there are more people who may be interested in sharing their stories, not only Staples students, but faculty, parents and people in the larger Westport community,” said Lemone.

“They’re all stories about how people have been impacted by drunk driving, whether they were in an accident themselves or it was a family member,” he added. “Last year we had a man who had a brother killed in a drunk driving accident when he was young. And we had a student whose brother was killed. We also had a woman who told a story about getting into a lot of trouble drinking and driving.”

Lemone noted that all of the TAG team’s 33 members will have a hand in the film, from setting up interviews to conducting and filming them. He also credited a non-TAG student, junior Jack Craymer, a student with a strong affinity for film, for overseeing the documentary as he did last year. 

“It’s the 10th year for Grim Reaper and the seventh documentary,” Lemone said. “And over the years we’ve had every kind of story imaginable. The idea behind the documentary is to force kids at Staples High School to see that something like this can happen to anyone, even in Westport, Connecticut.”

According to Alexandra O’Kane, the goal of the documentary is “to reach out to as many peers as possible.”

“Every 48 minutes someone in the United States dies in an alcohol-related automobile accident,” she said. ” It is often feared that students do not feel this is an important issue, believing they are immune to such harsh realities.

“The Teen Awareness Group of Staples High School stresses how important it is not to become this statistic.”

Those interested in sharing their stories can contact TAG at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or call Lemone at (203)341-1285 or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or call Elaine Daignault, TAG co-adviser and the town’s Coordinator of Youth Services at (203)410-1165 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The following link is of the documentary TAG produced last year with sophomore filmmaker Jack Craymer:


Posted 01/30/13 at 03:54 AM


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No mention of distracted driving??  You can drive like a drunk.  People bouncing from curb to yellow line.  I see it all the time with people texting and talking on their phones.

Posted by john shuck on January 30, 2013 at 09:56 PM | #

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