By Jeanne Sager
JEFFERSONVILLE May 16, 2003 Kids in Jeffersonville learned Wednesday that drugs, drinking and driving make for a deadly cocktail.
The students from Sullivan West/Jeff-Youngsville and Narrowsburg, Roscoe and the Youngsville Alternative School werent sure what to expect when they gathered in the student parking lot at the Jeff campus that morning.
There were two cars in front of them parked face to face with tarps spread out over each vehicle and on the ground.
Crime scene tape had been put up to block off a large expanse of ground and provide an entranceway into the lot.
It wasnt until local business owner Sue Bodenstein told them they were going to play witness to a head-on collision that things started to click.
With the prom just a few days away, members of the JYCCKL Fire Prevention Committee (folks from the nearby Jeffersonville, Youngsville, Callicoon Center and Kenoza Lake fire departments) were trying to scare local kids straight.
The program hasnt been done in about five years, but it was time, said Scott McGowan, committee president.
If we save one life because of this, thats whats important to us, McGowan said. We need to get our point across that alcohol is dangerous.
So they turned on the loudspeakers, playing out the tale of a father and son driving home from grandmas house, who would end up in the path of four drunk teens on their way home from the prom.
The tarps were removed to reveal a small boy, played by Patrick Murphy of Jeffersonville, laid out on the sandy surface. He had apparently been thrown from the car driven by his stricken father (played by local State Trooper Bill Moloney).
On the other side were four Sullivan West students all covered in blood. Curt Corigliano, playing the drunken driver who drove across the double yellow line into oncoming traffic in the fog, was the only student able to climb from the car of his own accord.
His girlfriend, Jessica Lederman, was laid out across the hood, her pink prom dress drenched with blood, her eyes closed, her body lifeless.
Their friends Maura Mullally and Rob Orr remained pinned in the backseat of the blue Chrysler New Yorker screaming for help, screaming for their friend Jess to answer their calls.
The scene was quickly flooded with emergency workers NYS Troopers Troy Parucki and Pete Bizjak slammed their cruiser into park and rushed to help Moloney try to bring his boy back to life.
Jeffersonville firefighters followed, with the Jeffersonville Volunteer First Aid Squad hot on their heels.
Corigliano was put through his paces by Bizjak, and after stumbling through three different tests for drinking, was taken away in handcuffs.
The firefighters cut the roof off the New Yorker to extricate Mullally and Orr, whose own bodies were covered in blood and legs were paralyzed.
And last, and possibly having the most effect to onlookers, Ledermans body was lifted from the hood of the car and covered with a blue dropcloth to await the arrival of Stewart-Murphy Funeral Home co-owner Matt Murphy in his hearse.
The girl was then enclosed in a body bag and taken away.
Its not something Id like to see again, said senior Mike Compton, who will be going to this years prom.
Its a harsh taste of reality, added classmate and teammate Everett Saul.
But that wasnt all the students were there to see. Bodenstein returned to the forefront of the action to tell her story the story of an accident in June 1976 when she and her first husband climbed into the car of some friends friends she didnt know had been drinking for several hours.
The driver took off down Main Street Jeffersonville doing at least 70 miles per hour, Bodenstein told the crowd.
When he rounded the sharp curve on Route 52 in Kohlertown, he didnt make it. The station wagon she was in went headfirst into a tree, and Bodenstein went flying, her head smashing into the front post which holds up the roof of the car.
Her head was broken open so hospital workers could see inside to the back of her eyeballs, her pelvis was broken in several places and her face would need plastic surgery.
She was unrecognizable, Bodenstein told the students, and shes still in pain today from the effects of the accident.
Bodenstein looks good today she even fooled doctors by having two children after being told that wasnt to be.
But this is the first time shes had the courage to talk about her accident if only to prevent it from happening to someone else.
If what Im doing can save one person from being stupid, then its worth it, she said.