Student's Alleged DWI Draws Attention To Prevention Strategies

Student substance abuse in Bernards Township is topic of discussion at school board meeting and upcoming community forum at Ridge High School.

The 17-year old Basking Ridge student accused by police with driving drunk to school along with five other young men in an overloaded car with a blown tire is scheduled to appear in Bernards Township municipal court on March 11. 

The driver, who police said had a blood alcohol content of .27 percent, was issued motor vehicle summonses on Jan. 22 for DWI within 1000 feet of school property, DWI while underage, reckless driving, unsafe tires, and transporting passengers while a probationary driver.

The incident has sparked a renewed debate among the school board about instituting random student drug testing in schools as well as interest in an anonymous student substance abuse survey being conducted this month by the Bernards Township Municipal Alliance Against Substance Abuse, according to the Bernardsville News.

Also, a community forum has been called for 7 p.m. on March 13 at Ridge High School, when parents and high school students will hear from experts and can ask questions about drug abuse trends.

Due to snowy conditions, Ridge High School was operating on a delayed opening schedule on Wednesday January 22, the day of the alleged offenses.  

According to the police account of the incident,  Det. Robert Herndon observed an overloaded black 2010 Infiniti G37 traveling on Lake Road near Brookridge Drive with a right front flat tire, “so blown it was almost off the rim.” The officer saw one of the passengers sitting on the front center console, unsecured.

The officer pulled the vehicle over and approached the car to tell the driver about his blown tire at 10:10 a.m., but the driver seemed to not understand, said Officer Herndon in his police report. The officer said he noted that the driver smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech and difficulty hearing and answering questions as well as maintaining his stance when standing.

According to the officer’s account “he admitted to consuming ‘some shots’ prior to leaving his friends house to drive to school.”

Parents were summoned to pick up the male passengers, who were all Basking Ridge residents. Their ages were 14, 17, and three aged 18, according to police.

The driver was taken to the police station and administered the New Jersey Alcotest Calculator. Two samples indicated a .27 percent Blood Alcohol Content– over three times the allowable limit for an adult. But because the driver is under the legal drinking age, there is no minimum allowable amount at all.

The Infiniti was impounded and the driver was released to his mother.

According to the Bernards Township municipal court, he will be represented by attorney Kevin E. Young of Toms River.

Because of his status as a juvenile, Patch is withholding the driver’s name.

What are the substance abuse issues in town, and what strategies do you believe are effective? Tell us in the comments. 

V February 28, 2014 at 08:15 PM
Lock the parents up for being clueless nd endangering the whole town.
Laureen March 01, 2014 at 08:22 AM
You must NOT have children. This is a nightmare for the parents I'm sure. Just not sure why you would want to add to it with your comments.
V March 01, 2014 at 09:03 AM
I do have children, you sound like a parent who frequently says, "no, not my kid, he would NEVER do that" Seriously lack of parenting
Laureen March 01, 2014 at 09:33 AM
Not at all, I'm the kind of parent that tries not to place judgement because I've been on the roller coaster ride with my children. It's a sad day when a child makes a terrible decision that could affect their whole life. I'm not looking to argue with you. Nothing good will come from trying to make a bad situation worse with your negativity. He who lives in a glass house........ Have a good day "V"!
Jim March 01, 2014 at 11:22 AM
I guess the question is why are our children making the wrong decisions? What kind of guidance are the parents giving our children today. Kids should be number 1 on the list to make sure they stay on the road. Follow the rules or pay the consequences. The problem is there are no consequences anymore. The kids are ruling the nest.
Laura March 01, 2014 at 03:57 PM
A big part of the problem is that the legal drinking age at 21 is unrealistic. You might be able to hold them off to 18, but when the goal post is ridiculous, that gets harder. All these laws have done is shift the behavior underground making it impossible for parents and colleges to supervise appropriately and encouraging risky use by kids. These kids are going to drink no matter what you do. It's all around them. If you don't allow it under supervised conditions in your home or at a campus party, they will binge drink in the woods or when you aren't home, but parents can;t do that or risk being arrested. The legal exposure for parents prevents you from having a group of college age kids over to watch a football game (yeah, they're going to have a couple of beers)- better to have them chug shots in the car before they come in? Really? College kids can't nurse a beer at a fraternity party so they pre game in their rooms beforehand and end up with alcohol poisoning. Europe doesn't have this problem. Get rid of these stupid laws and leave the parenting to parents, the serving to bartenders, and young people will learn how to enjoy alcohol in an appropriate manner.


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