Justin Schneider (’12) seems like an average teenage senior trying to get through high school. He has a lot of friends and plays the guitar in his bands, The Lighter Side of Me, The Solo Project!, and Divide the Universe.
One day in June, Schneider was driving with David Oliva (’12), to their friend’s house. Schneider was driving his 2003 black Isuzu Rodeo after coming from the Mirage coffee house event sponsored by Bethel High School.
During the ten-minute drive to Jake’s house, Oliva dared Schneider to go on the top of the roof while Oliva took the wheel. He said that it would be funny for passing drivers to see a kid on top of the roof of a car. Schneider says, “It was just in the moment. I just figured I’d try it.”
Once Schneider was on the roof, he realized the car was going too fast for him to get back into the car. Oliva shouted for Schneider to try and climb back into the car but it was too hard for him at that point. Schneider then decided to try and jump off the top of the car while Oliva dove out of the window.
“In my mind all I could think of was ‘David take over the car,’ ‘David, be a lifesaver,”’ Schneider said. However, Oliva didn’t take over the car. Instead, he dove out of the passenger window to try and get out of the uncontrolled vehicle.”
“I jumped out the window, landed on my head, blacked out and woke up covered in blood,” says Oliva.
The car was driving down the hill with no one in it and crashed into a mailbox and another car. The people who owned the car that was hit immediately called the police and an ambulance for Schneider, who was also covered in blood.
Dan Manning, Schneider’s friend who was following the car says, “It didn’t seem like it was actually happening…. It was really weird to see because I’ve never seen a car crash before. I kept thinking that it could have been me.”
Schneider lost a lot of blood. He couldn’t stand up and was leaning against the car until the police came to question him. When the police asked Schneider what happened, he lied at first, saying that the brakes didn’t work. Eventually, Schneider told the police officer what really happened and explained the situation.
Schneider ended up having a concussion, a fractured arm, and his leg was cut. He had to go to court and complete fifty hours of community service as well as take a safe driving course.
Overall, Schneider learned in a difficult way that doing things before thinking can be naive. However, this accident made Schneider look at life through a new perspective. Now, he thinks through ideas to make sure a tragedy like this never happens again.
“I learned to think of the worst possible outcome before you even try something,” Schneider concludes.