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Mothers of scouts urge Riverhead to add drunk-driving program

04/01/2019 6:01 AM |

Riverhead Central School District will consider bringing a drunk-driving education program to the district as per the request of mothers of Troop 161 — including Alisa McMorris of Wading River, whose son was killed by an alleged drunk driver last year.

Ms. McMorris, a 1991 Riverhead High School alumna, with Kristine Lynch and Kathryn Yakaboski, mothers of two other boys injured in the crash, asked the school board to bring “Choices and Consequences” to the high school prior to prom and graduation season later this year.

The free 90-minute program, run by the Suffolk County district attorney’s Vehicular Crime Bureau, educates students and parents about the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol.

“I feel very strongly about the Choices and Consequences program,” Ms. McMorris told the board. “It gives a perspective of reckless driving, destructive driving … and intoxicated driving.”

The program saw success last week in the Shoreham-Wading River Central School District, where Ms. McMorris and her husband, John, spoke to juniors and seniors during the session. The program is led by Assistant District Attorney and Chief of the office’s Crime Bureau, Brendan Ahern of Hauppauge.

On Saturday, the day Wading River seventh grader Andrew McMorris would have turned 13, his parents, friends and family celebrated by releasing lanterns over Long Island Sound. (Credit: John Griffin)

Ms. McMorris said her daughter, Arianna McMorris, who started the high school’s Students Against Drunk Driving chapter, was eager to bring the program to Shoreham-Wading River. The club’s first task was bringing the program to the school.

“I think it’s a message that can be shared and needs to be heard,” Ms. McMorris said. “Once all of this is over, criminal cases or what have you, I still don’t get my son back. So we need to find something. I need to live his light.”

Ms. McMorris said she’d be more than willing to speak to Riverhead students in conjunction with the program.

“If we can change one person to make a better choice — to call their parents at 3 a.m., or to make a better choice with a friend by taking their keys away — then I fulfilled my goal,” she said.

Bridgehampton School District and Deer Park High School have also implemented the program, Ms. Yakaboski said at the board meeting.

Andrew McMorris, 12, died Oct. 1, 2018, a day after Thomas Murphy, 60, of Holbrook drove his vehicle onto the side of the David Terry Road in Manorville, where members of Boy Scout Troop 161 were hiking. Four other Scouts were injured in the accident.

Mr. Murphy was arrested at the scene and was later indicted on 16 criminal charges and multiple felonies. Mr. Murphy is due back in court April 2.

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