"When I drive, I won't speed," the 17-year-old said.
That was the message police hoped to send Tuesday when they took the
car out of the police impound lot and took it to the school. It will
later be moved to Burbank High School.
Cesar Gonzalez, the 23-year-old driver of the car, died of severe
internal injuries April 30 when his car slammed into a concrete wall
under the Golden State (5) Freeway on San Fernando Boulevard, near the
Lincoln Street offramp. He was a police explorer as a teen.
With permission from Gonzalez's family, police used the car as a
reminder of the dangers of speeding. Witnesses told police the car was
going 85 to 90 mph at the time of the wreck. The speed limit in that
stretch is 35 mph.
Burbank Police Officer Kerry Schilf, who was among the first to
respond to the scene, came up with the idea of displaying the car.
"I just thought, what a perfect example of the consequences of driving
recklessly," he said. "If there was a way to turn a tragedy into
something that might possibly save someone's life, I think that Cesar
would have wanted that." His family agreed. In front of the car is a
picture of Gonzalez, and a note that reads, "It is [the family's] hope
that by being able to look at the mangled wreckage of their son's car,
you will make the decision to drive safely."
It wasn't lost on students who sauntered by the wreckage.
"It makes you think twice about what you do after prom," said senior
Gian Guenther, 17.