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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Accident and trial display effects of drunk driving

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Students experienced a range of emotions while watching a mock accident and trial at Northview High School Tuesday afternoon. Melinda Quasius Photo.
Northview High School students wanted to send a message to their classmates: make good driving decisions on prom night and from now on.

The Northview SADD chapter and Advanced Health class put together a mock accident and trial with local emergency response teams to demonstrate the dangers and consequences of drunk driving.

Because the number of drunk driving accidents involving teenagers spikes during prom season, it was important to get the message out this week.

Also, earlier this school year, two members of the junior class were lost in one weekend due to car accidents.

"Kids forget so quickly," Principal Tim Rayle said.

When the emergency response teams had left and the jurors had delivered a "guilty" verdict against the drunk driver, some students felt they had made a difference while others felt some of their classmates would make bad decisions no matter what.

During the accident run through, several students were visibly shaken. A group of Brandee Siples' friends, who lost their good friend in November in an accident, were deeply affected by the event.

"I just wondered if her car went through this, and alcohol wasn't even involved. Did this happen to Brandee too?" Haley Haase asked.

"It makes me realize it can happen to you," Rachel Fults added.

Haase described the mood surrounding the mock accident, "It was funny at first, but when they got all serious and in to itů"

"It can happen to anyone," Coda Keller finished.

Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger has been through two mock accidents at Northview.

"It comes with the territory. You always have a wide range of responses to these circumstances, ranging from disinterested to people who have been touched by situations like this," he said.

"We hope the reaction is one of understanding that it can happen here, it can happen in Brazil, it can happen in Clay County. And hopefully, kids will make the right decisions," Reberger added.

Some students did not necessarily feel their classmates got the message.

"What's sad is they just don't care. They'll go out and do exactly what they're shown not to do," Senior Tiffany Colclasure said about her classmates who chatted through the exercise.

The students assisting in the mock accident, playing the roles of victims or documenting the exercise, felt differently about the day.

"It was scarier than I thought it was going to be. Everyone has to do something like this so they know how terrible drinking and driving can be," Jessica Metz said.

Fellow actress Ashley Haargis said she was nervous because she did not know what was going on around her.

When asked if her classmates got the message, Haargis said, "I think most of them did, I saw some of them crying."

"I think losing two classmates in one weekend hit us harder than we thought," added Josie Harris, who videotaped the exercise.

"I want people to take it seriously, because I don't think some understand how serious it is," Metz said.

The students involved were not the only ones with high hopes for the day.

"My hope with today's mock accident and trial is that when temptation is there, students will think twice," Rayle said.

"The students' reaction was positive, and I hope it pays off for us. The community members feel the same way, otherwise they would not take time off to do this today," he said. "They genuinely care about the students at Northview, and that was evident."

When asked about students who were not engaged with the presentation, Rayle said different coping mechanisms might be to blame.

"We can't look at our students at one event and make a judgment. For some, it's their way of handling something that devastating."

"We've had a couple of accidents that weren't drinking and driving. Take away the alcohol, and we've lived through that nightmare, and we don't want it to happen again," Rayle explained.

According to Advanced Health teacher Bethany Jones, clergy was on hand Tuesday afternoon for students who needed counseling after the presentation.

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