MONTVILLE Twp. Ohio – A terrible Geauga County crash in May took the lives of two Perry High School graduates. Another crash in Chardon took the life of a Midview High School Student. Yet another in Stark County left an Alliance teenager paralyzed.
For Chris and Laura DePiero the news of those tragedies reminds them of the call they received in April 2010 when their daughter Erin and son Andrew were killed in a crash involving another teenage driver.
“Every time you see on the news or you read in the newspaper about any accident, but particularly for teenagers in an accident and even more so those that end in tragedy. It brings you immediately back to where we were seven years ago,” said Laura.
Through their sorrow the DePiero’s have set out to make a positive impact in memory of their children creating a foundation that has helped support a program called “Take Control.”
The program is taught once a month.
Using a device called ‘The Diablo Drift Lift,’ the program teaches teenagers how to control a car when it is in a skid.
But it also helps them understand the responsibilities of driving and the painful and irreversible consequences of taking risks behind the wheel.
It is scheduled through the Montville Township Police Department, where officers help teach the course.
“I believe they get a lot of confidence and again the name of the game is experience and with anything we do in life the more you do it the better you are going to get at it,” said Montville Twp. Officer Dave Pinkas
Participants can be from anywhere in Ohio.
With the support of two other families that have lost teenagers in tragic crashes and Westfield Insurance the DePiero’s believe the program is making a huge impact, and would like to see it offered in other communities.
“I want to believe that if there had been an opportunity for my kids and the other young man who was involved in the accident to have this class maybe things could have turned out differently. I’m hoping that we can continue on with these classes for the unforeseeable future,” said Laura DePiero.
“It teaches kids just more than their 30 hours of school work and the 60 hours of driving with an adult it really teaches you the ins and outs of driving, different techniques hands on training a three hour course and we really stood behind it and jumped on board and we just totally believe in the program ourselves,” said Chris DePiero.
And when they hear about another teenager involved in an accident, the DePiero’s say it only makes them more committed to making an impact.
“Its almost unbearable for us, but it also is a huge motivator for us. It tells us that this class and this course is needed not just here in Medina, its needed everywhere,” said Laura DePiero.