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Responders hope the message has an impact

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Emergency response personnel remove a victim of a mock drunk driving accident at Northview High School Tuesday afternoon while eleventh and twelfth grade students watched. Ivy Jackson Photo.
The big party has ended and two separate cars, each with teenagers inside, are traveling home. One driver stayed sober while having a good time, the other is intoxicated.

According to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol-related vehicle accidents kill a person every 31 minutes and cause non-fatal injuries to someone every two minutes. Local emergency response personnel volunteered their time to try and change that statistic Tuesday afternoon.

The goal of Tuesday's mock accident at Northview High School was to impact on students what happens if bad decisions are made while driving.

The event was part of activities to help prepare students to think about safety for the upcoming prom, scheduled for April 18.

"Our goal is to educate all students and drivers of all ages to be smart when you drive," Event Organizer Brandon Sciotto said. "It only takes one time to drive drunk and mess up not only your own life, but everyone around you and people you don't even know."

Members of the Clay County Sheriff's Department, Clay County Search and Rescue, Dick Johnson, Jackson and Posey Township volunteer fire departments, TransCare Ambulance, AirEvac, the Clay County Coroner's Office and the Clay County Prosecutor's Office volunteered their time to participate in the event, while Poor Boy's Towing donated the two cars used in the accident.

As students exited the school, Mark Adamson, of Aerial Arts Fireworks, set off an explosion to simulate the impact of the vehicles.

A 911 call to the Clay County Justice Center could be heard over a loud speaker.

In the distance, the wail of emergency sirens filled the air.

Within seconds, emergency vehicles rushed into the area as some students in the front of the crowd backed away from the parking lot.

Students watched how emergency crews raced to the scene where a drunk driver, with three passengers in her vehicle, struck another vehicle with four individuals inside. They experienced the dramatic sights and loud sounds as EMS personnel worked to save the victims, law enforcement officers investigated the accident and the coroner's office worked to identify the bodies of those who died.

The Jaws of Life where used to remove the victims.

AirEvac airlifted one patient while one TransCare unit took victims to a local hospital and another TransCare unit was used to load the dead bodies of two teenagers.

Although some of the students watching the mock accident have witnessed the real thing or experienced the loss of a friend or loved one, there were those students in the crowd unaffected.

"If we reach one person who doesn't get into a car with a drunk driver or they don't make a bad decision that puts them in harm's way, then this is all worth it," Clay County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Rob Gambill told The Brazil Times after the mock accident. "We do this in hopes that we never have to knock on a parent's door some day to deliver bad news."

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With Northviews prom April 18th i hope you got the message got to them. With this and the lose that Northview had in Nov I hope they know it can happen no matter who you are. Sober drivers also watch out for the other vehicles on the road. To all attending the Prom and Post Prom Have a fun and safe night.

-- Posted by pepsilady on Tue, Apr 8, 2008, at 11:47 PM

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