“You Killed Your Best Friend!”

Eisenhower students see the potential result of drinking and driving during mock accident
May 18, 2024

RUSSELL, Pa. – “Someone please help us!” “He won’t wake up!” “This is all your fault!” “Keep trying!” “What were you thinking!” “Those are my kids!” “I’m sorry.”

“You killed your best friend!!”

The accident was staged, but the screams that filled the air at Eisenhower High School Friday afternoon brought a sense of realism to the scene of a mock accident.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office and Students Against Destructive Decisions stage the accidents at local high schools each year to remind students of the consequences of poor decision-making.

“Tens of thousands of dollars, every year, are put in through time, equipment, and manpower to put these on for the schools in Warren County,” Warren County Sheriff’s Deputy Rachael Canfield said. “Because we care about you, and we don’t want anything bad to happen to you.”

The staged accident scenario occurred following Eisenhower’s prom when drivers Shawn Pascuzzi and Emilie Jones decided to drag race on their way to Sheetz. In the scenario, Pascuzzi had been drinking and was distracted by his phone, causing him to crash into Jones.

First responders work to extricate Katie Bunk and Emilie Jones from their vehicle following a mock accident. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

Kris Bunk was the passenger in Pascuzzi’s vehicle, with Katie Bunk as Jones’ passenger. Jones suffered a head injury as a result of the crash, while Katie Bunk lost feeling in her legs. Pascuzzi suffered superficial injuries and Kris Bunk was killed.

More than 45 minutes passed from the time the accident happened until Kris Bunk’s body was removed from the scene.

Heather and Kris Bunk, Sr, Katie and Kris’ parents, also played a role in the scenario as the parents who arrive on the scene to find out one of their children suffered potentially severe injuries, and the other was killed.

“It was really hard not to react, especially when you hear your parents break down in a situation like that and you want to reassure them everything is alright,” Kris Bunk said.

Warren County Sheriff’s Deputies Chris Riche and Mike Quigley performed a field sobriety test on Pascuzzi before detaining him and taking him to “jail.”

Warren County Sheriff’s Deputies Chris Riche and Mike Quigley “detain” Shawn Pascuzzi after Pascuzzi “failed” a field sobriety test. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

Volunteer firefighters from Russell, Lander, and Sugar Grove, along with the Sheriff’s Office, SADD, and Warren County Coroner Melissa Zydonik participated in the event.

“I’m hoping this can make a difference in people so they think twice before doing certain things,” Kris Bunk said. “It was cool to be a part of and to see what really happens in an actual situation.”

Once the accident scenario was finished, students returned to the auditorium for a special assembly. Kris Bunk, Sr read an “obituary” for his son, before Buster Godden told the story of the real-life tragedy of losing his son in a drunk driving accident.

“I hope what you just watched makes an impact on you,” Godden said. “That enactment, in real life, will play out many times this prom and graduation season. Way too many people your age will die for no good reason. A waste of life.”

Godden, whose son, Travis, was killed in August 2003 in an accident not far from his home. Travis had been drinking prior to getting behind the wheel and wasn’t wearing a seat belt. Those poor decisions, Godden said, cost Travis his life.

Eisenhower teacher Tammy Hennessey paints Abe Wolf’s face as part of a white out. A number of students had their faces painted to represent the number of people killed in drunk driving accidents every day. Photo submitted.

“Two poor choices, drinking and driving and no seat belt,” Godden said. “Until that moment, he had much good going in his life. He was newly married, just bought a home, had a good job, and lots of friends. Then those bad choices.”

Godden said everyone’s life is defined by the choices they make, which is why it’s important to exercise good judgment.

“Choices will, and have, defined your life,” Godden said. “Everything you have done to this point in your life has defined who you are and who you will become. Your entire life will be about choices. Making the right choices is not easy. The choices get harder all the time. Make sure you choose wisely.

“Please make the smart choices. Live life to the fullest. Use every opportunity to succeed in life. Be there in life, don’t be a memory.”

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