Some 50 Londonderry High School students attended "The Moment of Truth" last Friday, marking the end of Red Ribbon Week. The presentation was powerful, the room was silent.

The presentation was given by Stop Drunk Driving Now President Ron Bellanti at the invitation of Mike Torch, the high school's community service counselor.

"I reached out to health class teachers, Students Against Destructive Decisions and other teachers to have kids sign up for the presentation," Torch said. "Instead of having big, general assemblies around drunk driving for Red Ribbon Week, I thought this might have more impact." It appeared to work.

There was silence from the audience as Bellanti talked about why he started Stop Drunk Driving Now. An EMT, school resource officer and two trauma nurses from Elliot Hospital also spoke. Bellanti, a public relations specialist in the music industry, told the group about a time when he was on tour with a well-known band in the late 1980s.

"As usual, some teens came hours before the show looking for backstage passes," he said. "It was in Long Island and I remember talking to a 15-year-old girl. She was beautiful, with curly hair and big blue eyes."

The group of teens had time to kill and the parking lot was empty.

"They were drinking strawberry wine and smoking pot," Bellanti said. "Then, they took three vehicles and started doing doughnuts around the parking lot that was the size of a football field." Bellanti said the girl he had spoken to was standing up in the back of a pickup truck when the three vehicles collided.

"She died in my arms," he said. "She lost an arm and one of her beautiful blue eyes was hanging out of her eye socket."

Since then, Bellanti has been on a mission.

"In this country, most children don't die in hospitals," he said. "They die in automobile accidents."

Bellanti introduced Londonderry firefighter and EMT Bruce Hallowell, School Resource Officer Shannon Coyle, and trauma registered nurses Nicole Allard and Jess Jacques. They all took turns answering Bellanti's questions and talking about their own experiences of coming upon accident victims.

"Don't do it," Hallowell said of drinking and driving. "I have nightmares after coming on the scene of one of these accidents."

He also said nine times out of 10, the drunk driver lives, but has taken the lives of others. He told of a drunken driver killing a young mother and her 6-year-old daughter, who were on their way to the grocery store.

"It's something you'll have to live with while you're sitting in your jail cell," Hallowell said. Coyle minced no words.

"When I come on the scene, I can smell it right away," she said. "I know I haven't been drinking. It's you."

Coyle said the hardest thing is to have to go to someone's house and tell them their child is never coming home again.

"Most of us have kids and we're human," she said.

Coyle told the group to use a cell phone and call a friend, a parent or even the police for a ride, rather than drive under the influence or get into a car with someone who is intoxicated. She also stressed the importance of wearing a seat belt.

"It takes five seconds," she said.

The trauma nurses reiterated parents' reactions to seeing their child on a table in the emergency room.

"You're not just impacting your life," Jacques said. "You will hurt your family and anyone else that was in the car with you."