The mother of the Wading River Boy Scout killed by an allegedly drunk driver in September and the mothers of two other boys injured in the crash are asking the Riverhead school district to bring a program called “Choices and Consequences” to the high school this spring.
Alisa McMorris of Wading River, Kristine Lynch and Kathryn Yakaboski, both of Calverton, asked the Riverhead Board of Education to bring the free 90-minute program to the high school before prom and graduation season begin this year.
The “Choices and Consequences” program, presented by the Suffolk County district attorney’s vehicular crime bureau, educates students about the dangers of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs and the consequences of the choices they make. Run by the chief of the D.A.’s vehicular crime bureau, the program features speakers whose lives have been irrevocably altered by someone’s choice to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The McMorris family spoke at the program when it was presented at Shoreham Wading River High School this month.
Andrew McMorris, 12, was killed when a car driven by a man who police said had a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit, drove into a group of Boy Scouts on a Sunday afternoon hike in Manorville.
Kaden Lynch and Matthew Yakaboski, both 15 at the time, were among four other scouts injured in the crash.
The driver of the vehicle, Thomas Murphy, 59, of Holbrook, was traveling home from Swan Lake Golf Club on the afternoon of Sept. 30 when, according to police, he drove his Mercedes onto the shoulder of David Terry Road, striking some of the scouts from Troop 161 as they walked along the road.
Murphy was arrested at the scene and was subsequently indicted on on 16 criminal charges, including multiple felonies. Those charges are still pending, with Murphy’s next court date scheduled for April 2.
“No matter what happens in court, after everything is over, I still don’t get my son back,” McMorris said last night after the school board meeting. “This program is a way to help prevent other families from experiencing this kind of loss and grief,” she said.
Becoming an advocate for educating people about the real-life consequences of their bad choices, McMorris said, has helped her cope with her own grief and her family’s life-altering loss.
The Suffolk D.A.’s office has presented the program in Bridgehampton and Shoreham-Wading River. Deer Park High School has made the program mandatory for students who want to attend the high school prom. Every student must have at least one parent or guardian attend the program also.
“We will support you in any way we can,” Riverhead School Superintendent Dr. Aurelia Henriquez told McMorris, Lynch and Yakaboski last night. “I’ll start working on this tomorrow.”
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