Driving simulator purchased in fallen officer's memory - abc27 WHTM

Driving simulator purchased in fallen officer's memory

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Officer David Tome (Courtesy: Northern York County Regional Police Department) Officer David Tome (Courtesy: Northern York County Regional Police Department)

Many of the students who take driver's education at Spring Grove High School in York County don't even have a learner's permit, but they're already getting experience behind the wheel.

They're able to buckle into a high-tech simulator that can mimic various weather conditions as well as other obstacles and distractions.

"We can even do DUI simulations," said Officer Todd Wise, who is Spring Grove's school resource officer. "We can do nighttime driving, fog, snow, sleet, rain."

The simulator was paid for with money raised from the Officer David Tome Memorial 5K Race. It's an annual event that honors Tome, a Northern York County Regional Police officer who was killed by a distracted driver in the line of duty in 2008.

"Having the funds go to support this is a great way of finding purpose in David's death," his wife Dody said. "It's very sad, but yet a joyous thing for me."

Wise struggled with his emotions when remembering his former colleague.

"I think Dave would definitely be proud knowing that we're doing this in his memory and I think it's a good thing, not only for the kids, but for the community as well," Wise said.

Students admit it's a lesson worth driving home. Many said that distractions often ride shotgun with them.

"I'll see something along the side of the road or off in the distance I have to look at," junior Seth Cornman said. "I'll check my phone or I'll change the song on my iPod."

And for many, a poor performance on the simulator can serve as a wake up call.

"I didn't use my turn signal," admitted sophomore Michael Traynahn. "And I didn't maintain proper following distance."

Wise asked sophomore Kayla Blouse to try to send a text message while driving the simulator. She immediately started to drift off the side of the road.

"It was really, really hard trying to send a text and watch the road at the same time," Blouse said.

The simulator cost $26,000 and school officials said they are close to having enough money to purchase a second one for students.

"I think it's pretty cool," Traynahn said. "Just a way to get driving experience without being on the road."

This year's Officer David Tome Memorial 5K Race will be held on October 12. It starts and ends at Papermakers Stadium on Roth's Church Road in Spring Grove. For more information you can contact the SGASD Community Relations Department at 717-225-4731, extension 3031.

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