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Scottsdale students learn drunk, distracted driving dangers

A student attempts to drive on a simulator at an event promoting safety behind the wheel. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- About 150 students at the Thunderbird Adventist Academy got a lesson Tuesday that distracted or drunk driving could have serious consequences.

Senior Jacob Nagrette put on goggles that simulate being drunk and a Scottsdale police officer made him "walk the line," much like he would if had pulled Nagrette over for DUI.

"Everything was really distorted, I couldn't really tell where I was walking," said Nagette. "Like, to me, it seemed like I was doing good, but to everyone else, it seemed like I was just swerving all around the lines."

The students also got behind the wheel of a simulator and tried to drive while texting or making a phone call. Some of them drove so bad that, if it were real life, they would have had an accident and either ended up in the hospital or in jail.

The Eastern Association for Surgery of Trauma sponsored the event.

"Distractions are responsible for over 400,000 crashes per year and many deaths," said Dr. A. Britton Christmas, a spokesman for the group. "If we can get the message out and prevent these injuries, that's really the take home message."

Christmas said it is very important to get this message out in Arizona.

"Because Arizona is one of only 11 states that does not have primary laws against texting and driving, we really see this as an opportunity to come in and get in touch with the students and the community. The reality is that if we're able to save one life here today, then we've more than done our job."

Many of the students said they will remember this day when they get behind the wheel.

About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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