Student Work Samples

  • 10 Mistakes (+2) I Observed Teens Making In The Video Related To Driving:

    馃挜 Speeding
    馃挜 People riding in the bed of a truck
    馃挜 No seatbelts
    馃挜 Distracted driving
    馃挜 Girls sitting on the back of a moving convertible
    馃挜 Going in and out of lanes really recklessly
    馃挜 Opening a passenger door while literally driving on the road
    馃挜 Too many passengers
    馃挜 Texting and driving
    馃挜 Yelling while driving
    馃挜 Person holding onto the back of a moving car
    馃挜 Applying makeup in the car

    How and why many of the teens in the video simply did not understand the responsibility and danger that comes with being a new driver:

    馃挜 The teens are too immature to recognize the extreme responsibility that comes with handling a vehicle that has the power to kill themselves and others.
    馃挜 The teens have not had enough experience on the road to fully comprehend the extreme circumstances that come with being a driver.
    馃挜 The teens think they're invincible and think that everything they learn in driver's ed doesn't apply to them because it would "never really happen to me."
    馃挜 The teens are natural thrill-seekers and see driving as newfound freedom that they can take advantage of and show off.


    Nicola Teutonico




    "There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane"
    There are many questions as to what truly happened in the collision with Diane Schuler, and many theories circulating such as the ones pushed by Diane's family. These specific claims are false due to the logic behind them. A stroke or an abscessed tooth were not plausible causes, as they would render the person unable to speak, but the phone call to 911 demonstrated Diane's ability to speak clearly and even scream. Ultimately the best theory is the one supported by evidence: due to the pain from her root canal operation, Diane Schuler was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol to mitigate the pain, leading her to drive recklessly and kill eight people. Furthermore, driving under the influence of both marijuana and alcohol would be the best explanation for her behavior. While marijuana in itself causes hallucinations and slower movements, alcohol initially stimulants your brain but later slows down your nervous system functions. The combination of these two drugs can lead to unpredictable and risky behavior, a possible reaction that Diane had. It is possible that after the gas station had no painkillers, Diane decided to use marijuana for her pain which made her hallucinate or worsened her vision and instead of continuing south onto her route, she turned around on Tappan Zee Bridge. Then, she could have consumed alcohol to further lessen the severity of the pain, but the initial stimulants caused her erratic driving and led her to swerve between lanes until she eventually drove southbound on the northbound lanes. In the call to 911 she sounded a bit too panicked, appearing to be under the influence of some type of drugs. Following this tragedy, the Schuler family seemed to have many inconsistencies with the narrative they expressed to the media. For instance, there were multiple instances in which the family asserted that Diane was not an alcoholic, and it was a mistake that her blood alcohol content (BAC) was .9% since she was not around any alcohol. However, on a later occasion, they revealed that there was a bottle full of alcohol in the car, believing that it was normal to have a bottle in certain places. Another inconsistency involved the clothing of Diane on her first stop: Diane was wearing a winter coat in July. There's a chance that she was simply cold but going as far as to wear a full-on padded winter coat raises suspicion as to what she could have been hiding in her coat such as a flask. Finally, Jay Schuler had stated that the Hance family was very understanding of the entire situation and would also defend Diane's name. This doesn't seem to be entirely true as the Hance family declined to speak in the documentary, demonstrating that they may not be as considerate of the event as they were portrayed to be. To prevent tragedies such as this from happening again, local municipalities can be placed in more highway areas, so they are able to handle the situation quicker and generally have more eyes around to maintain safety for all drivers. Or there can be a greater number of signs which warn drivers of cameras, as people will be more cautious of their driving if there is risk of a fine. Finally, there must be more Public Service Announcements to make people aware of the dangers of driving under the influence, or not in the right state of mind. First and foremost, the entire Schuler and Hance family had the most casualties from the accident. Daniel Schuler, the husband of Diane, appears to be emotionally distraught from the loss of his wife, but strangely does not seem to mention his daughter Erin. Jay Schuler, the sister-in-law of Diane, is similarly emotional over the tragedy. Both Daniel and Jay are in denial of the evidence supporting the idea that Diane was under the influence of drugs while driving the minivan and continuously argue in defense of Diane, claiming that there was some type of medical issue which must have caused the crash. Jimmy Schuler, Daniel's brother and Jay's husband is in support of Diane but did not speak out as much as Daniel and Jay. Diane and Daniel's daughter, Erin, passed away in the crash, but their son, Brian, was the sole survivor of the tragedy. He currently suffers massive head injuries that leave him with persistent nerve palsy affecting his mobility and vision. Not to mention, the emotional baggage of having most of his family killed in an accident in which he was a child who did not have the power to change anything about the outcome. Moving to the Hance family, Warren and Jackie Hance lost their three children: Emma, Allison, and Kate. They decided not to speak in the documentary, but it is explained later on that Jackie's mental state following the accident had deteriorated to the point where she made plans to attempt suicide. Fortunately, she was advised to have another child to try and enjoy life again, and her new child, Kacey Rose, was her saving grace. However, she and her husband will never be able to forget their children lost in this tragedy and it will continue to haunt them throughout their lives. Along with the immediate family, Diane also caused the deaths of the Bastardi family. Crashing into their vehicle, 89-year-old Michael Bastardi, his 74-year-old best friend Daniel Longo, and his 49-year-old son Guy Bastardi were killed. The lives of Michael Bastardi's daughters, Margaret Nicotine and Roseann Gusto, and Daniel Longo's brother, Joseph Longo, were effectively disturbed with the tragic loss and the lack of closure they received. The family is upset that the Schuler family will not simply apologize for Diane's mistakes and continues to make up lies, coverups, and excuses. Others who witnessed the accident firsthand must deal with emotional trauma, specifically one witness dictates the event in which they were forced to step over Diane's dead body to pull the other dead children out of the car; he had tried to pray and listen to their heartbeats but ultimately understood the outcome and had to remove himself to the situation to cry. Given the sheer number of physical casualties, loss, and emotional trauma following the accident, it truly warns others to remember the dangers of driving recklessly or under the influence. It is accidents such as these which should caution others to try to always drive safely.

    Rani Basnet
    Driver's Education Final Exam



    鉂朰ou could swerve in and out of lanes.
    鉂朰ou could run a red light into ongoing traffic.
    鉂朰ou could sit at a green light and get rear ended.
    鉂朰ou can get points taken off your license if seen by an officer with a device.
    鉂朰ou could drive off the road and in certain areas that mean straight to your death.

    1. If Robert Bursik was looking in his rearview mirror, there was a chance that he could have seen Sam Hick's truck staying at the same speed and not coming to a stop. This could have given him time to move to the side of the road so he would be out of the way.

    2. I agree with this sentence, it may seem like 1 year of jail and 10 years of probation is not enough for a life, but he will always live with that guilt. He didnt intentionally murder Robert and although his actions were unimaginable, he will never forget them. He will carry that burden on his shoulders for the rest of his life so whether he is in jail or on probation he is never free.

    Arianna Nelson


    DUI Homework Credit Assignment
    Getting a DUI could really ruin someone's life in many ways. First of all it costs a whole lot of money to pay for the expenses that come along with someone's first DUI. These expenses include bail, court costs, probation and legal fees, DUI education programs, drug and alcohol counseling, license reinstatement fees, towing or impounding costs, increased auto insurance rates, and loss of work income. The amount of money needed to pay for a DUI can be about $10,000 which is a lot of money that not a lot of people have on hand that they can spend if this were to happen. But financial costs are not the only problem someone who gets a DUI will encounter. Jail time is possible and very likely if convicted of a DUI which can lead to many more problems. Loss of employment is also common because after a put away for a DUI someone has a criminal record which does not make it easy to get a job. The community will be talking about your DUI for a very long time looking down upon the decision and harm caused. The person will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device which is not only embarrassing but also very annoying. The last thing is that the person's license will likely be suspended or restricted for some time. Honestly, it is stupid to me why people would even think about driving under the influence when there are so many consequences.
    - Abigail Loiacono- 9/21/2021 Tuesday/Thursday Class Mr. V



    Hi Mr. Vernile, here is my response for the Katie Flynn accident. I chose prompt A:
    Argument A:
    Driving with too many teens in the car is a big distraction for the driver of the car because it can cause them to not pay attention and get involved in a serious car accident.
    路 On their way home from a wedding, the Flynn family ordered a limo to come home so that they could enjoy themselves and have the opportunity to drink while they were there. While on the Meadowbrook Parkway, a large pick-up truck struck the limousine head-on and at massive speeds. Prior to the accident, Martin R. Heidgen had been drinking at a party and decided to drive home when the accident occurred, driving on the wrong side of the road which is extremely dangerous. When the accident occurred, the destruction was indescribable. Everyone in the limousine left the accident with serious injuries and they had to be extracted from the vehicle. Katie Flynn, only 7 years old, died in the accident after being decapitated, displaying the severity of this accident. Also, the driver of the limousine died after being crushed to death. Martin R. Heidgen was charged and convicted of murder in this case after defense lawyers argued that he should've only been charged with a lesser charge of manslaughter. It is in my opinion that Martin R. Heidgen was guilty of murder and thus he should receive the maximum sentence, life in prison. In this accident, Heidgen deserves to be held responsible for the reckless actions he took. He decided to drive while intoxicated and was severely impaired, with drug reports estimating that he was almost 3 times over the legal limit. Heidgen's actions contributed to the deaths of 2 people and the severe injuries of many more that will forever keep them traumatized. Because of his actions, Heidgen must be held responsible as he was the one who murdered Katie Flynn and the limousine driver. Although it wasn't premeditated, Heidgen still murdered Katie Flynn and deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. His actions will have a permanent effect on the people involved and it is solely his fault that the accident occurred, so he deserves to be found guilty and should have the maximum sentence. His actions condemned the Flynn family to a lifetime of loss and heartbreak, so he deserves to have a lifetime punishment as well.
    Steven OCallaghan



    Part A: 5 ways a car full of teens can lead to bad driving habits and accidents.
    Driving with too many teens in the car is a big distraction for the driver of the car because it can cause them to not pay attention and get involved in a serious car accident.
    路 When teens are together in the car, cell phone use is quite common. With everyone being together, they like to post and share pictures/videos of what they are doing. Also, they do not like to miss out on any drama, secrets, etc. which will create a constant urge for teens to use their phone in the car while driving. 路 Playing music very loudly in the car happens often with friends in the car. This is a big distraction for the driver as well as other drivers on the road that will hear the music playing. It may cause the other drivers to look around and see where the music is coming from. Therefore, taking their eyes off the road and could cause a crash because they are not paying attention. 路 Speeding/thrill seeking in the car with friends is dangerous. Even though teens do this just have an adrenaline rush and have joy rides, it puts themselves and others on the road in danger of creating a serious car accident. 路 Peer pressure. With other teens in the car, the driver may feel pressured into doing things that they aren't comfortable, so their friends don't get mad at them and/or not being their friend anymore. This has caused many teens to lose their lives because the driver cared about what others of him/herself, instead of making the right and safer decision.
    Part B: difference between how boys and girls act in the car with passengers.
    Boys like to speed and go thrill seeking more than girls. When they have passengers in the car with them, they tend to be more irresponsible. 路 Boys will play their music really loud which creates many distractions for them and other drivers on the road. 路 Girls will be on their phones while having passengers in the car because they like to post/share about them and their friends together so show everyone how good of a time they are having. But driving while using any electronic device is against the law and very dangerous.
    - Talia Motil



    Bad Weather Driving Assignment
    A. 10 mistakes drivers make in bad weather.

    1. Not checking that the engine is completely off.
    2. Oversteering in bad conditions (fishtail effect)
    3. Driving too fast in white out conditions
    4. Standing on the side of the road in icy conditions
    5. Slamming on the breaks (causes 360 motion) on black ice.
    6. Drivers not checking the weather app on their phone to learn about conditions before going out.
    7. Drivers trying to exit the vehicle after an accident.
    8. Not leaving enough stopping distance in bad weather
    9. Not scraping off their cars of snow and ice (Jessica's Law)
    10. Understeering can cause a driver to go off the road into a ditch.

    - Abbi Savage Period 1 Mon/Wed



    Student Safe Driving Contract

    No Texting while driving contract


    Dear Mr. V,

    My name is Gillian Barresi and I am in your Tuesday Thursday first period class. Here is the assignment from the Dr. Kurman biking accident for a homework credit:

    In this accident, I am on the side of the truck driver because in my opinion, Dr. Kurman should have still slowed down at the intersection because you never know what could happen. Someone could speed through a red light or quickly turn without noticing her at all. She should have been looking too before she crossed the street and saw that the truck driver was about to turn and therefore she should have stopped. There is no way she did not see the truck driver turning before she attempted to cross the street. In addition, she could have rode her bike on the sidewalk off the street, as it looked like there was no one on the sidewalk in the video. She also should have realized that she was in the drivers blindspot and he most likely could not see her coming until it was too late. Lastly, if I was her, I would recognize that this truck is huge and will likely make wider turns. I would have slowed down even before the intersection, just out of safety, because you never know what could happen, especially being on a bike that a lot of people do not see. This is why I am on the side of the truck driver in this accident.






    Here my paper typed out for you:
    I have to say this was a hard argument to choose a side for. To be honest, I would have to say it looks to me like it's both of their faults in a sense but I would have to say I agree with the truck driver, Levaria a little more. I feel Kurman had more than enough time to stop or even slow down when Levaria approached the wide turn. I always think it is no proof that Levaria passed her a few minutes before the crash because it is not his job to know every movement and everywhere she was. For all he knew she tuned already or even stoped at a store. Furthermore , to me that is not good proof. The bicyclist had more than enough time to escape by using the sidewalk. The truck moved over in lanes to indicate the turn and she kept steady with her speed and biking. This would be a sign for her to slow down or go on the sidewalk. She also is not a new driver, so she should have known to be aware that the driver of the truck would have a blind spot and that she was in it. The truck was very big so he never realized he hit her because of the blind spot and in a big truck like that you wouldn't feel movement. Even if you did it would be like hitting a curb. So I wouldn't charge him with a hit or run because of this. With this evidence I would have to side with Levaria.
    -Samantha Towle






    The story of Dr. Anita Kurmann getting run over by the truck. It is easy to say either one of them is at fault but the obvious person at fault is clearly the cyclist. As a cyclist, you are supposed to be aware of your surroundings and avoid hazards. The driver of the truck should be aware of his surroundings but in this case, a truck with that trailer on the back can not see much plus can not stop quickly. The Cyclist should be looking at the turning signal and being aware of the long trailer. The turning signal was a clear indication that the truck was making a right. The biker had multi able opportunities to slow down and wait for a large truck to go by instead of riding next to it or near it. The driver of the truck 100% can not feel the bump and the driver wasn't aware either. Therefore the driver should NOT be charged with anything because he is not at fault.

    Respectfully,
    Kyle Buckley






    Here is my brief paragraph of a minimum of 75 words that describes how and why a DUI could ruin your life:
    A DUI can ruin your life. DUI stands for driving under the influence. This occurs while being in control of a vehicle. The driver must be impaired by alcohol or other drugs to receive a DUI. To start, a DUI can ruin your life because it is awfully expensive. A first time DUI can cost $10,000. This could be awfully expensive for some people, therefore ruining their life. Some of the expenses are court costs, increased auto insurance rates, towing costs, and Drug and Alcohol counseling. All these things can happen if you get caught for a DUI. In addition to just being expensive, a DUI can also result in non-monetary punishments. You can lose your job if you get a DUI. One may even receive jail time. Another possible punishment is an installation of an ignition device. This is a device that is placed into someone's car. This means that before driving, you must blow into the device. If your BAC is low enough to be able to drive, the car will start. Another punishment is a loss of driver's license. All these reasons show why it is so important to not get in the car when drunk/buzzed. If you are drunk and need to get home, use a taxi or an Uber. There are many possible ways to be safe and not drive when drunk. Being caught with a DUI can greatly impact your image. People will see you as irresponsible. Overall, a DUI comes with many negative consequences that can ruin one's life.

    Thank you,
    Jake Swersky






    Police Stops/Issues Assignment
    There are many reasons as to why a driver may not comply to the demands of police during a traffic stop. One reason includes that they do not want to get into trouble. People think that if they refuse to do what the police are asking, there will not be further complications. People think that if they do not say or do anything nothing will happen which is completely false. A second reason is that the driver does not feel that they did anything wrong. People think they have no right to do anything if they feel they did not violate anything. A third reason is that they want to act tough. Some people think they want to act cool around others especially if there are other people in the car. They do not want to feel weak so they try to stand up to the cop by disobeying them and not complying which could result in major consequences such as being tased, shot, or pepper sprayed. A fourth reason is that people are trying to cover up for other people. Someone may not say something even when they personally did not do something wrong because they do not want the person with them to get in trouble. This results in not answering questions correctly which shows someone will not comply. A fifth reason is that they have a previous felony or issue. They may have a warrant, be on probation, etc. This can result in them not wanting further complications, so they don't comply with the police. These are five possible reasons why, but there could be many more.

    Kimberly Westenberg






    There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane
    I believe that Diane Schuler was guilty of driving under the influence. This may seem like an obvious response, but her family says otherwise. Ann Scott, the owner of the campground, said that Diane seemed sober when she left with the kids that morning. Danny says that before leaving, they had breakfast, a couple cups of coffee, cleaned the camper, and left. This seems about right. Joseph Becerra, an investigator with the NY State Police, said that Danny said Diane was going to stop by a McDonald's not far from the campground. This seems odd to me since Danny also said they had just eaten breakfast; why would she stop for food so soon? But, giving Diane the benefit of the doubt, let's say she's getting food for the kids or something. Video surveillance shows Diane walking into McDonald's with a winter coat on, when this was in July. The cashier that served her did not recall her seeming intoxicated in any way. The kids were playing in the McDonald's playground. This all leads me to believe that she drank in the bathroom, smuggling the vodka bottle in that winter jacket. As for the levels of THC that the autopsy revealed, I think she may have been eating edibles in the car, because the kids would've noticed her smoking, but by eating edibles, it's almost like undercover weed. Witnesses on the road recall her weaving in and out of lanes, being an aggressive driver, around 12-12:30. One of the witnesses even recalls her looking like she was about to throw up. This emphasizes that Diane was definitely under the influence. There were a lot of inconsistencies, lies, and cover ups throughout this documentary. To start, an autopsy was done that revealed Diane had a blood alcohol content of 0.19% and a high level of THC. Despite the autopsy evidence, Danny Schuler says confidently that Diane did not drink and that he believes a medical issue must have occurred. Second, Danny Schuler had contradicting stories when speaking of the vodka that was found in the car after the crash. First, in a press interview, he says he had no idea what the vodka was doing there. Then, in a television news interview, he says that they usually kept a bottle of vodka in the camper all throughout the season. Danny also says that he wants an autopsy done, a "correct autopsy鈥 because what they're saying is not true." He is trying to tell viewers that doctors did an autopsy wrong. This kind of cover up is just not believable to anyone watching, and yet Danny is pushing it. Local municipalities and states can take cautionary actions to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again. One thing that they can do is simply adding more signs to make it clear to drivers that they should or should not enter in a certain direction. There could also be more cops on main highways and parkways to prevent reckless driving. Diane had stopped at a few gas stations and truck stops, and each time she had been acting weird due to her being under the influence. People around her noticed, but didn't take action on it. If local police were at some or even one of these stops, they could've taken action. So, placing local police at some truck stops may be helpful for spotting drivers under the influence before they do too much harm on the road. This accident changed the lives of all people involved. Jackie and Warren Hance lost their three daughters, ages 5, 7, and 8. This type of tragedy is horrific enough to cause strained relationships, depression, and overall constant sadness. They chose to not be in the film, showing that their pain is overwhelming and is not something that they wanted to be shared. Diane and her 2 year old daughter also died in the accident, leaving Danny and other family members to grieve. Michael and Guy Bastardi and Daniel Longo died in this crash as well, innocent people who were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Their family, including two female members that were in the documentary, is clearly grieving. In addition to the tragedy itself, they are dealing with frustration towards Danny Schuler for not admitting his wife was drunk, for his defensive speeches, rather than an apology. Brian Schuler, 5 years old at the time of the crash, was the only boy to survive. This has messed him up physically, with eye issues, and although not directly mentioned in the documentary, most definitely will affect his mental health as he grows up. In addition to the grief that these families have to endure, Diane and her husband are receiving hate through social media, making the situation even harder on the families, seeing that their loved ones are hated.

    Natalie Costa

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