SOURCE: Westfield Insurance

Westfield Insurance

May 20, 2013 11:45 ET

Collaboration Brings Free Teen Defensive Driver Training to Medina County

WESTFIELD CENTER, OH--(Marketwired - May 20, 2013) - "Take Control" is a three-hour class for licensed teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 that offers certified police officer instruction in collision avoidance, emergency braking, skid recovery and more. It is an expansion of the Medina County Juvenile Diversion Program, which has been offered since 2008 to teens who received their first traffic citation, in lieu of a traditional fine.

Montville Police Chief Terry Grice has seen the diversion program help teens improve their knowledge of defensive and safe driving through use of driving simulators and classroom instruction.

"The most common cause of accidents on the road is inexperience," said Chief Grice. "The skid car teaches teens how to deal with conditions like wet or icy roads that can make driving hazardous."

Teen drivers, mile to mile, are in three times as many fatal crashes as other drivers, claiming the lives of nearly 3,000 drivers ages 15-19 each year. The under-20 age group also has the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.

To establish a program that proactively educates teens before they are involved in an accident or receive a citation, Grice approached three well-known supporters of teen driver safety -- Ehrbar Angels Foundation, MStar Foundation and Westfield Insurance. Thanks to these sponsors, no taxpayer funds are used for this program. Sponsors' support also allowed Montville Police Department to purchase a skid car apparatus (Diablo Drift Lift®). Bill Doraty Kia donated vehicles to be used solely for the program.

"A similar class costs anywhere from $250 to $750; that's cost prohibitive for most families," says Laura Ehrbar DePiero, who founded Ehrbar Angels Foundation after her son and daughter lost their lives in a 2010 car accident. "The opportunity to save lives is a request we couldn't refuse."

Starting June 15, 2013, "Take Control" will take place on the third Saturday of each month at Westfield Insurance at 1 Park Circle, Westfield Center, OH, 44251. It is available to any interested teen with a driver's license; however, Medina County residents will receive priority, as space is limited. For registration details, call the Montville Township Police Department 330.661.0122.

"As an insurance company Westfield can repair cars, but we can't bring back those who have lost their lives in a crash," says Ed Largent, Westfield Insurance leader and president. "That is why Westfield is pleased to be involved in this partnership, which may prevent teen crashes in the first place."

In addition to the sponsors, "Take Control" will work with newly-formed Brunswick Blue Pride to help promote the program to Brunswick and other Medina County communities.

About Ehrbar Angels Foundation
The Ehrbar Angels Foundation was created in memory of Erin and Andrew Ehrbar who tragically lost their lives on April 28, 2010. Proceeds of events offer scholarships to Highland High School senior students to further their education, sponsor 8th grade students on Washington DC trips, and education for teen drivers.

About MStar Foundation
Michelle's Leading Star Foundation was established by the family of Michelle Lee Sanderbeck in the year 2006 to vigorously instill the message that safe driving begins at home, behind the wheel and in the school systems. M.Star Foundation is an effort to educate/promote safe driving among teens in the state of Ohio and commemorates Michelle Lee Sanderbeck (and other teens), who lost their lives in a non-alcohol, non-drug related teen automobile accidents.

About Westfield
In business for more than 165 years, Westfield Insurance provides commercial and personal insurance in 21 active states, and surety services to customers in 31 states. Westfield is one of the nation's 50 largest property and casualty insurance groups, represented by a network of over 1,000 independent insurance agencies. Westfield Bank provides banking solutions for businesses and individuals across Northeast Ohio, and Westfield Services provides service and training support for independent insurance agencies. Westfield and its private foundation seek to support safety programs that prevent accidents in homes, cars and businesses; education programs that provide avenues to future employment; and community development programs that improve business and living conditions. Learn more about Westfield Insurance at and Westfield Bank at

About Bill Doraty Kia
Bill Doraty Kia is a Kia Dealership located in Medina at I-71 & Rt 18. We specialize in car service, parts and financing as your Cleveland area Kia dealership. Bill Doraty Kia has developed a reputation as an ethical, honest Dealership, and our customers respect our employees for the professional manner in which they conduct themselves. Each position in our Dealership provides a service and we all have customers who depend on us. We share a commitment to serve the needs of our customers and with enthusiasm and recognize that customers are not interruptions to our work; rather they are the purpose for it! We are not doing them a favor by serving them; they are doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to serve them.

About Brunswick Blue Pride
On June 3rd, 2012, the Brunswick community was devastated when 4 teens were killed and one seriously injured in a car accident on Boston Road. Three days later a community meeting was held to brainstorm what could be done to help the community and those affected both now and in the event another tragedy occurs. From that meeting, a charitable organization called the Brunswick Blue Pride Foundation was created with an ongoing mission of family support, advocacy, and scholarships for Brunswick High School students. The foundation is a mix of parents, business owners, and students and will sponsor several fundraisers a year as well as advocacy programs for students.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:
    Chief Terry Grice
    Montville Township Police Department
    Email Contact

    Laura Ehrbar DePiero
    Ehrbar Angels Foundation
    Email Contact

    Ray Sanderbeck
    MStar Foundation
    Email Contact

    Jani Groza
    Community Investment Leader
    Westfield Insurance
    Email Contact

    Bill Doraty
    Bill Doraty Kia
    Email Contact

    Kimberlee Bublik
    Brunswick Blue Pride
    Email Contact