Manheim Central Crash May Make an Impression on Young Drivers

By Sarah Garner and Kendal Phillips –

“It won’t happen to me.”

Following the horrific tragedy that struck Manheim Central School District Jan. 16, Penn Manor students had a chance to reflect on how this accident will affect their future behavior.  Will they take a lesson from the lives lost?

When four Manheim Central football players left their team breakfast early Sunday morning, they were unaware of the upcoming two-car crash that would end the lives of  ninth-grader DeVaughn Lee, tenth-graders Nicolas Bryson and Cody Hollinger, and eleventh-grader John Griffith.

The crash occurred at 11:28 a.m. on Mount Wilson Road, in South Londonderry Township according to

Showing support for the families of the lost lives

Police said the teens were traveling south on Mount Wilson Road when the driver, who has not been identified, lost control of the car. It skidded sideways into the northbound lane hitting another car occupied by two people. Police said the driver and the passenger in the other car were taken to Hershey Medical Center, where they were listed in stable condition.

“A lot of people avoid that road now.  If I, or my friends travel on (Mount Wilson Rd) we normally break down crying,” said Phil Wubbolt a junior, the school mascot, and basketball player at Manheim Central High School.

Three of the Manheim Central teens were pronounced dead at the scene by a representative from the Lebanon County Coroner’s Office.  The fourth teen was taken to Hershey Medical Center, where he later died from his injuries.

According to RMIIA, an insurance information site, about two out of every three teenagers killed in a motor vehicle accident are males and eighty-one percent of teenage motor vehicle crash deaths in 2008 were passenger vehicle occupants.

“You have people to back you up, they motivate you to do stuff,” said junior Aaron Vickers.

Statistics also show that 16-17 year-old-driver death rates increase with each additional passenger.

“When people I know are behind me I drive faster to impress them,” said senior Robin Green.

The statistics should be a warning for teens to be particularly careful when passengers with young males as drivers or when a group gets together for an activity.  But that doesn’t always happen. Penn Manor’s School Resource Officer, Jason Hottenstein, said he is aware that teens brag about some high-risk behaviors.

“(A common road for speeding in Lancaster County is) route 30 or 283, but at least its on a highway,” said Penn Manor’s, Officer Jason Hottenstein.

According to The New York Times, psychologists at Temple University used functional magnetic resonance imaging scans on forty teenagers and adults to figure out if there are differences in brain activity when young teens are alone driving versus a car occupied by friends. After doing multiple studies, the results suggested that teenage peer pressure has a definite effect on brain signals involving risks and rewards, which explains why some teens are more likely to misbehave and take risks when their peers are with them.

“I drive safe, I just don’t drive the speed limit,” said Penn Manor senior Nate Kreider, echoing a common response from teens at Penn Manor.

Do teens learn from their peers mistakes? Or do they figure “it won’t happen to me?”

“I don’t really speed anymore and when I see a hill or a corner I notice I slow down more than I would have before,” said Wubbolt.

Streeter Stuart, a history teacher at Penn Manor, made it a point to talk to his classes about the Manheim crash.  He wanted to ensure that his students learn from the four boys’ mistake.

“What people don’t appreciate when they are being reckless, etc; is how much their actions can impact other people,” Stuart told his classes.

Stuart explained to his classes that an accident such as this will always be remembered in the surrounding communities, especially when a similar accident occurs.

“You don’t learn from others’ experiences, you learn from your own,” said Stuart, “and sometimes yours is what kills you.”

Stuart, who is also the freshman football coach, went along with some football players and head coach, Todd Mealy, to be at the Manheim boys’ viewing.

“What they did has in some small way lessened the lives of thousand of people because people are impacted by their actions,” said Stuart.

Dr. Steinberg, who also helped with the studies at Temple University, thinks parents should be aware that groups of teenagers need close supervision.

“All of us who have very good kids know they’ve done really dumb things when they’ve been with their friends,” said Steinberg. “The lesson is that if you have a kid whom you think of as a very mature and able to exercise good judgment, based on your observations when he or she is alone with you, that doesn’t necessarily generalize to how he or she will behave in a group of friends without adults around. Parents should be aware of that.”

Natalee Holloway’s case still in the news – Teens Cautioned

Five years ago on May 30, 2005, Natalee Holloway disappeared.

Divers seem to think they catpured Holloway's remains. Photo courtesy of

She was on a high school graduation field trip to an island in Aruba. No traces of her body were found except possible skeletal remains seen in a photo by two scuba divers that captured the image at the bottom on of the ocean, which turned out to be a false alarm.

Along with the underwater mystery, there was a jaw bone found along the beach of Aruba by another couple. According to, Dutch forensic experts are testing this bone to see if it belongs to Holloway.

As a cautionary tale, as young teens already planning senior week, they should be aware that this could happen to them.

For example, in 2002, three Manheim Township graduates were charged with sexual assault of an intoxicated 16 year old girl at senior week.

Now, being five years later, another similar murder has occurred. Police chief Gen. Cesar Guardia stated that Stephany Flores, 21, was found face down in the hotel she was last seen in with Jordan Van Der Sloot.

According to Lancaster New Era, the Dutch government said Interpol, an organization based in Paris that coordinates investigations made by the police forces of member countries into crimes with an international dimension, had issued an international arrest warrant for Sloot.

Guardia then stated that Flores and Sloot were last seen entering the Lima Hotel around 5 a.m., and Sloot exited the hotel alone about four hours later.

“We have an interview with a worker at the hotel who says she saw this foreigner with the victim enter his room,” Guardia said.

Stephany Flores Photo courtesy of

When Flores’s body was found fully clothed, they discovered multiple abrasions to her face and body with signs of trauma, the police general stated.

Some wonder what took so long for the hotel staff to check the room.

Autopsy results are still being waited on.

Guardia said that Sloot left Peru by land and his exit registered at the Santa Rosa border crossing. Sloot had been staying at the hotel since May 14 after entering the country on a flight from Columbia.

Stated in the Lancaster New Era, Sloot was found in a taxi Thursday, June 3, several days drive and a country away, and was arrested for the murder of Stephany Flores.

He put up no fight when he was detained about half way to the Pacific coast from Santiago, stated deputy Chilean investigative police spokesman Fernando Ovalle.

According to CBS News, Sloot’s Dutch lawyer said Sloot was intending on turning himself in shortly before he was found.

After the arrest and quickly into questioning, he confessed to killing Stephany Flores.

According to ABC News, Sloot grabbed Flores by the neck when he saw her looking up information about his previous case [Holloway] and then continued by hitting her.

“I confronted her,” Sloot told investigators, according to La Republic. “She was frightened, we argued and she wanted to get away. I grabbed her by the neck and I hit her.”

“I did not want to do it. The girl intruded into my private life,” said Sloot. “She had no right.”

According to, Sloot did confess but later tried to deny the whole thing. He claimed that the only reason

Natalee Holloway went missing during her high school trip and has yet to be found.

he confessed was because he was intimidated and thought he would be extradited to the Netherlands. His request to have his confession retracted was denied.

Joran van der Sloot was previously arrested twice but with little to no evidence connecting him to Holloway’s disappearance during a high school graduation trip, he was let go in 2005.

According to a Dutch television crime reporter, a hidden camera they set up captured secret footage of Sloot saying he was with Holloway when she collapsed on a beach, drunk.

After Sloot was found, he told investigators that he left Holloway on the beach drunk which implied that that was the last time he saw her.

A Dutch Newspaper reports that Sloot took money from the Holloway family in order for them to receive the location of her body. Sloot took the money but gave no address.

Natalee’s mom sent Sloot $10,000 through an FBI agent and later transferred $15,000 into his bank account. He then caught a flight to Latin America with the money.

“I wanted to get back at Natalee’s family — her parents have been making my life tough for five years,” the Dutch Newspaper quoted him as saying from prison in Peru. “When they offered to pay for the girl’s location, I thought: ‘Why not’?”

He also publicly confessed to murdering Holloway and then retracted the statements may times.

Being a law enforcement officer and Penn Manor’s resource officer, Jason Hottenstein knows all the details about safe drinking and the dangers of being with strangers.

“You have to be extremely cautious with people you don’t know,” said Hottenstein. “Trust no one that you don’t know.”

There was also a website created to petition against senior week.

The website titled Stop Senior Week claims that the results of senior week are deaths, movies that glorify underage drinking, sex

Joran van der Sloot is taken into custody Photo courtesy of

and drugs, public intoxication and drug use and hundreds of car accidents and hospital visits.

According to CBS News, Tim Miller, founder Texas Equusearch, a non-profit organization that searches for missing persons, has assisted with the search for Holloway from the beginning and has become very close friends of the family.

Miller stated that Holloway’s father, David Holloway, sends his sympathies to the Flores’ family in Peru.

“(David is) talking about what a senseless death that was, that we feel as though the cover-up that went on in Aruba, with Joran van der Sloot never being arrested, that we need to hold a lot of people accountable for Stephany’s death in Peru. I mean, a very, very sad time for everybody. And now Dave is just trying to, I think, just digest what’s really happening in his life again right now. And of course it brings it all back to 
Dave and Beth, I’m sure that it’s like it happened yesterday. So there’s disappointment, there’s anger, there’s frustrations. And, again, Stephany, there’s no reason she should be dead today. Somebody made some huge mistakes over there,” said Miller.

Joran van der Sloot is being held in a seventh-floor cell with a bunk bed and blanket with three meals a day while he is being further questioned of the death of 21 year old Stephany Flores and the disappearance of Natalee Holloway.

By Sarah Garner