Charles J. Fuschillo Jr.

September 18, 2009

Photo caption: Senator Fuschillo speaks to Seaford students and members of the panel during his DWI round table session at Seaford High School as District Attorney Rice and Assemblyman Weisenberg look on.

State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) recently hosted a round table session at Seaford High School with a leading local defense attorney, families of DWI victims, and a wide range of DWI experts to discuss the need for action in a year which has seen some of the most high profile drunk driving crashes in recent memory. Student body leaders from Seaford High School were also on hand to listen in on the discussion, ask questions, and provide their input.

The session sparked a discussion about how to make the “don’t drink and drive” message resonate with young people. After listening to several parents describe what it was like to have their child killed or injured by a drunk driver, students responded this was one of the most powerful ways of getting people to understand the impact of drunk driving.  Students were visibly moved as they listened to parents explain how their lives will never be the same again.

The discussion also touched upon legislation Senator Fuschillo is sponsoring to require mandatory ignition interlocks for all convicted DWI offenders, as well as create felony charges for individuals who drive drunk with a child in the car.

The session was only expected to run for one hour, but produced such productive discussion and lively interaction that it ended up lasting over two hours.

“Bringing together all the different perspectives in the fight against drunk driving sparked a great discussion about the consequences of DWI and what we can do to better prevent drunk driving moving forward. The personal stories of the panelists really touched the students and helped them understand how the choices they make today are ones they must live with tomorrow. ” said Senator Fuschillo.

Participating in the round table session were:

* Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr.

* Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg

* Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice

* Nassau County District Court Judge Francis Ricigliano

* Joseph Dell'Anno, father whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver

* Marge Lee, President and Co-founder of DEDICATEDD

* Denna Cohen, President of MADD Long Island

* Maureen McCormick, Chief of Vehicular Crimes Bureau, Nassau County District Attorney’s Office

* Kimberly Lerner, Esq., defense attorney and former prosecutor. Currently affiliated with the law firm of Richard W. Lerner, PC.

* Chief Karen O’Callaghan, Nassau County Police Department

* Sergeant John Kastner, New York State Police     

* Thomas Markle, Superintendent, Seaford School District

* Saul Lerner, former member of NYS Temporary Special Advisory Panel on Driver Education Availability and Curriculum Enhancement. Currently, Director of Driver Education for the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District

* Jeanne Coppola, Seaford High School Student, 11th Grade Class President


Seaford High School students in attendance hold leadership positions in student government and varsity athletic teams.