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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mock accident staged

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Emergency response personnel work to remove the top of a vehicle to get to injured students inside during Monday's mock accident. Members of Northview High School Advance Health Class and two members of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) were the victims, while members of the Clay County Sheriff's Department, Dick Johnson, Jackson and Posey Township volunteer fire departments, Clay County Search and Rescue, Clay County Prosecutor's Office, TransCare, LifeLine and AirEvac. Mark Adamson, of Aerial Arts, provided special effects and Poor Boys Towing Service provided the vehicles. Local clergy and other counselors were on hand for students if they needed to talk Ivy Jacobs Photo. [Order this photo]
Life is about choices and consequences.

The back parking lot at Northview High School was the scene of a fatality Monday during a safety awareness exercise for junior and senior students.

"Every other year we do this around prom," Event Coordinator and Health/Family and Consumer Science teacher Bethany Jones said. "We hope that by showing students the choices and decisions they make can effect not only themselves, but other people."

As the student body walked outside, they saw a sight that many had mixed reactions to. Two vehicles appeared to be involved in a head-on collision.

"While watching the mock accident, it really made me realize how fast things can happen," student Alexis Lewis said. "People need to think twice before they make choices."

While students were watching, emergency personnel arrived from the Clay County Sheriff's Department, Dick Johnson and Posey Township volunteer fire departments, TransCare and Clay County Search and Rescue, who immediately began to work on the student passengers inside the vehicles.

"Even though it wasn't real, you could still sense the tension and effort that the firefighters and medics were putting into it," student Samantha Bryan said. "Being in the car almost felt like a real accident experience. Some parts were kind of scary, especially when they were taking the top off the car."

Though many of the students took it to heart, some students had some problems with the set up and the response of fellow students in the crowd.

"My reaction wasn't that good," student Brandon Garvis said. "People were laughing behind me and I couldn't feel emotion throughout the event because I knew what was happening."

As LifeLine and AirEvac arrived, comments were said and jokes made regarding the accident, but it was the moment one of the students was pronounced dead did the message really hit home. A stunned silence filled the air as the sheet was draped over Katie Rogers, to show her as the fatality.

"The whole thing felt surreal and emotional," student Rebecca DeCamp said. "I felt a genuine sense of grief when I saw Katie (Rogers)."

Fortunately, Rogers was able to walk away after the event and hug her father Jim Rogers who also participated in the event.

During a safety awareness exercise for junior and senior students at Northview High School Monday, student Katie Rogers portrayed the part of a fatality victim of the two vehicle mock accident in the parking lot. The goal of the program, which takes place every two years at the school, is to show students what the potential consequences of destructive decisions like driving while intoxicated could be. "If this reaches one person, makes them think about what they are doing and or changes the way they do things not only for prom activities this weekend, but every day," Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger told the crowd after the mock accident, "then that makes all this work worth it." Ivy Jacobs Photo. [Order this photo]
"It was kind of scary being around all that noise in the car," she said. "It was a great experience and the other students should have been more serious."

Students in the advanced health class and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) were the victims. Emergency personnel used the event as a training exercise as well as an educational experience for the students.

"We had a lot of fatalities during my time in high school," Event Coordinator and member of Clay County Search and Rescue Brandon Sciotto said. "If we can get one kid to think twice before doing something that could potentially harm themself or someone else, then it was worth it."

Prom is this weekend and though the accident is scheduled around it, personnel are hoping that it has an impact not only on this weekend's event, but those in the future.

"The mock accident dramatically demonstrated to our students the effects of poor decision making," Principal Tim Rayle said. "Seeing friends and classmates in a "mock" traumatic accident hopefully will bring home the very real dangers of making poor decisions."

"Unfortunately, we live in a community where we have seen this happen to young teens," Jones added. "We are just hoping to prevent this from happening again."

In a community that has lost so many students because of bad decisions, it is the hope of everyone involved to have students think before they act.

"I would rather stay at home and watch a movie on any night of the week," Sciotto said, "than have to go to an accident scene (involving a child)."

Times Staff Reporter Ivy Jacobs contributed to this article.

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