Morgan Frisch/Recorder staff
Fonda-Fultonville High School juniors Gabrielle Bluvas and Jocelyn Dolly view the vehicle inside the Otsego County Stop DWI Amy Stock Memorial trailer Wednesday.
By MORGAN FRISCH
Recorder News Staff
FONDA — The voice of Amy Stock could be heard by Fonda-Fultonville students Wednesday as they viewed her memorial trailer, personal photos and the car she died in.
“It’s crazy to think this could happen,” senior Dakota Livingston said.
The Otsego County Stop DWI Amy Stock Memorial trailer, which plays a voicemail Stock left the night before the accident, will make its way to every school district in Montgomery County by the end of this week. On Monday, it made a stop at the Amsterdam High School.
The trailer teaches students about how Stock, a 48-year-old professor and environmentalist, was killed in Albany when a drunk driver went through a stop sign and crashed into the passenger side of her car. The drunk driver, a Troy man was driving 65 mph on July 19, 2015, with reportedly a blood-alcohol content of .27 percent, more than three times the legal limit. He was convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide and sentenced to eight to 24 years in state prison. Besides showing her vehicle, the trailer plays a video, and provides background on the Gloversville High School graduate’s life.
“It’s one of most impactful things that I have watched,” Fonda-Fultonville Superintendent Thomas Ciaccio said. “I have watched it probably 10 times and every time I watch it the hairs on my neck stand up. I’m from Gloversville, I knew who Amy was, I didn’t know her personally, but it’s an example of an irresponsible decision that can have a ripple effect that impacts the lives of so many people.”
Ciaccio and dozens of students surrounded the trailer to hear comments from individuals who have experienced the impact of drinking and driving — from a sheriff who arrives at the scene, a district attorney who prosecutes the cases and someone struck by drunk driver who lived to tell the story.
Montgomery County Stop DWI Coordinator Jeff Kaczor said the event is trying to affect the outcome of children’s lives.
“I want you to realize in one second everything can change,” he said. “It’s up to each one of us when we are in the presence of alcohol to make the right choice when it comes to drinking and driving. Don’t get behind the wheel.”
Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Jeff Smith told students to remember that this is real life.
“You are all old enough now, some of you are driving, or you are going to be driving soon and you can understand the consequences,” he said. “ Good decisions, good consequences, bad decision, bad consequences. One second can change a life, your life, or the life of another.”
Smith was a victim of driving while intoxicated on Dec. 30, 1999. He said the driver struck his vehicle head on, was intoxicated and driving without headlights at night. Smith’s vehicle was totaled and he was out of work for eight months.
“Thankfully, I’m here today to share my story,” he said.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kelli McCoski came to the event a little early to view the memorial and said it was “very emotional.” She has been prosecuting driving while intoxicated and driving while ability impaired by drugs cases since 2008.
“It’s not a fun job,” she said to students.
McCoski said she doesn’t refer to the cases she deals with as accidents anymore because an individual makes the decision to get behind a vehicle while drinking.
“Summer is coming, it’s parties, it’s graduations. I was a kid once, I get it,” McCoski said. “But, if you are are drinking and driving, if you’re lucky you’ll get prosecuted by me and if you’re not lucky you’ll be dead or you could kill someone.”
Sgt. Ray Waldynski, with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, stood before Stock’s vehicle and told students he’s the guy that’s responding to the scene.
“Drinking while driving is a choice and you have to be courageous enough not to make that choice,” he said.
Juniors Jocelyn Dolly and Gabrielle Bluvas walked around the display together.
“I’ve never witnessed an actual car that looked like this,” Bluvas said. “People will really open their eyes when they see this.”
Senior Robert Richardson said viewing the trailer made him look more at drinking and driving.
“If I go to a party, I never would drink and drive,” he said.
The district will also have a traveling display available for viewing in the multipurpose room until Friday. It includes stories, photos and personal items from individuals killed by drinking and driving.
“You are our future,” Smith told students. “You are the ones that will be our leaders of this county and this country, and we are relying on you to make the right decision.”