Tuesday, April 15, 2003

La Salle play to benefit injured deputy

By Maggie Downs
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Each year the La Salle High School drama department selects an individual or organization to receive the proceeds from its annual Passion Play.

This year's recipient is Hamilton County Sheriff's Deputy P.J. Reinert - a 1991 graduate of the all-boys' school in Monfort Heights and a former member of the drama department who survived a high-speed crash last year.

What: The Passion Play
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Where: La Salle High School gym, 3091 North Bend Road, Monfort Heights
Cost: Free, but donations accepted
Information: (513) 741-2369
Reinert, 29, was critically injured Sept. 3 in Colerain Township as he tried to stop a driver who was going 100 mph in afternoon traffic on I-275. During the chase, Deputy Reinert lost control of his cruiser, which crossed the median, crashed into a semi-tractor and was then hit by a van.

The father of three suffered multiple injuries.

The driver of the red Pontiac Firebird that Reinert was chasing has yet to be found.

This year, all donations received during La Salle's play will be given to the Reinerts. Previous performances, attended by about 1,000 people, have brought in an average of $3,000.

"We thought his family could use some help," said Connie Saho, director of performing arts. "It was a unanimous decision by the students."

The Passion Play is done every year for Holy Week, which began Palm Sunday and ends with Easter. The play recounts the last days of Jesus Christ, from the Last Supper to his death.

About 60 students are involved in the production, which takes about two weeks of rehearsal to put together. "People actually cry in the audience," Saho said. "I would say simply the fact that they come back year after year and they bring their children, that says a lot to me."

E-mail mdowns@enquirer.com

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