The Village of Wellington hosted a roundtable discussion to promote accountability in the community to curb impaired driving and underage drinking.
Last month, two young equestrians died in a car crash there, which is still under investigation by the Palm Beach County’s Sheriff’s Office.
“Today was about getting the group together in the room to agree and affirm to each other that we know what the expectations are and that we’re going to work together to achieve,” said Wellington Vice Mayor John McGovern.
Wellington is about two weeks into “Operation Wild Stallion”-a sheriff’s office crackdown on underage drinking and impaired driving.
McGovern said bars and restaurants are on the front lines, which had representatives at the meeting.
“What we want our establishment owners to do, as you heard me say, is set policies that are clear and can be enforced,” McGovern said.
That includes, a hard last call time, ride services to get drunk patrons home safe, and drink limits at bars, to limit people under 21 having a drink handed to them away from the bar.
“Growing up here since I was 8, when there was woods all over Wellington, it’s significantly changed,” said Angela Bustamante, a licensed mental health councilor. “I’ve offered educational services to the schools and the business owners.”
Darren Edgecomb is the principal at Palm Beach Central High school.
“I was more than excited to come because of the impact it has my 3,000 kids is enough to get me to the table,” he said.
Educationally, the goal is to raise awareness for students, to promote no drinking, but to be honest if they do.
“It’s also discussions parents need to have with their kids to say, hey, wait a second, the most important thing is to get home,” said John Webber, the chairman of Wellington’s education committee.
Village Manager Paul Schofield says early results on wild stallion show a slight decrease in impaired driving, and a bump in ride-sharing use.
“We want people to be aware of what we’re doing,” he said.
Wild Stallion will be around for the foreseeable future, Manager Schofield said. He plans on updating the community once a month with a status report on the operation.