Steering Teens Straight: The Crash

Two Carlsbad students die, one arrested in suspected drunk driving accident

Sophomore Briette Pietrocini, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the car.

Note: The events described in this article are not based on real events but are dramatizations meant to educate Carlsbad High School students on the dangers of drunk driving. No students were harmed or faced any of the legal ramifications described.

Sirens blared around the Carlsbad High School campus as a blend of rain-water and blood stained the crossroads of Chestnut Street and Monroe Street . Occurring at approximately 12:15 p.m. on Jan. 25, two cars driven by Carlsbad students collided head-on as students returned to campus after lunch.

The crash, involving seven students, resulted in severe casualties and sent multiple students to the emergency room. Carlsbad police and California Highway Patrol officers arrived at the scene after being contacted by witnesses.

“The cars had just collided head-on and all I could hear were cries of pain and suffering,” senior Jack Beetham said. “To me, it looked like chaos until the firemen and the police got there. I think I was one of many to call 911.”

Officer Jim Bettencourt, first to arrive on the scene, discovered two deceased female students: the driver of a Honda Civic and one passenger ejected from a Jaguar. The students have yet to be identified.

“These two vehicles were traveling towards each other’s direction. We do not know who caused the crash yet, but we have determined that at some point those vehicles were involved in a head-on collision,” Bettencourt said. “Unfortunately, this caused some major injuries and fatalities.”

One other unidentified male student sustained massive injuries and was taken via ambulance to Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside. The student is listed in critical condition and the extent of his injuries is currently unknown.

After administering field sobriety tests with the involved driver, CHP Officer Parent arrested a male student on suspicion of driving under the influence. The student, whose name is yet to be released, was transported to Vista county jail.

“The young man involved in this DUI crash, his life will never be the same. He will be facing several charges including driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter. Unfortunately, this will most likely be the moment that ended his future,” Parent said.

The other students in each car were examined by paramedics to check for concussions and internal bleeding and were later taken to the hospital. All but one student involved in the crash was released after observation later that day.

Carlsbad High School administration responded to the incident by assisting law enforcement and first responders on the scene as well as supporting students as they returned from lunch.

“First you have to respond to the incident. Then, our attention has to turn to the safety of all the other kids because we have to make sure we get them back to class,” Principal Dr. Matt Steitz. “Then we have to start looking for students who are in the classrooms that may be distraught or upset.”

Following the incident Carlsbad High School set up a counseling “safe” room staffed with high school counselors as well as Lifeline, a North County team member in crisis.

“After we have a tragedy like this we immediately need to get it out that we are there to support those students who need it, those people who need it” Steitz said. “We need to be ready to support them so that they can come back and get back to work.”


Steering Teens Straight: Episode 1

Filmed, edited, and produced by:
Hannah Evans, Taylor Team, Sam Stadlberger and Indira Rodway, CHSTV reporters

Video credit: Hannah Evans, Taylor Team, Sam Stadlberger, and Indira Rodway- CHSTV