Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Principal remembers horrific night

Nathalia Secondary College principal John Sciacca will speak at Cool Heads tomorrow night about the night he came across the crash that killed Year 10 student Jess Hearn.

ESTELLE GRIEPINK July 22, 2014 3:44am

Nathalia Secondary College principal John Sciacca at the place on Shepparton-Barmah Rd where his student Jess Hearn, 16, died in a car crash in 2012.

On a night that should have ended with happy memories, Nathalia Secondary College principal John Sciacca found himself in the middle of a nightmare.

Mr Sciacca was driving back home from a Year 10 formal with a fellow teacher when, on Shepparton-Barmah Rd, Bunbartha, they came across a scene of complete horror.

A sedan carrying three teenagers had slammed into a powerpole, which snapped at the base from the impact.

One of the passengers, a 16-year-old girl, had been thrown from the back passenger seat and was lying on the ground.

Mr Sciacca stayed with the two teenagers, both boys from Nathalia who had suffered only minor injuries, while his colleague rushed to perform CPR on the girl.

‘‘He didn’t know who it was because her injuries were so horrific,’’ he said.

‘‘Afterwards I had to let him know it was a student of his science class, Jess Hearn.

‘‘It was just tragic.’’

Mr Sciacca spoke to The News yesterday ahead of tomorrow night’s Cool Heads driver education program session, where he will speak about that fateful night in June 2012.

Mr Sciacca said the impact of Jess’ death on the school community was devastating.

The teacher who performed CPR on her could not bear to drive past the crash scene and eventually moved to a new school in Melbourne.

Everyone at the school was offered counselling, but Mr Sciacca said it was Jess’ fellow Year 10 students who suffered the most.

‘‘It wasn’t what Year 10 students should have had to deal with — they should have just been worrying about their studies, their sports, their family lives,’’ he said.

‘‘They shouldn’t have had to deal with all that sadness.’’

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