Mock accident provides awareness to MVHS students

...

Photos by Marie Mccolm A police officer checks a young teen during a mock drunken-driving crash scenario at Monte Vista High School. A mock drunken-driving accident demonstration was held at Monte Vista High School for juniors and seniors ahead of the prom.

MONTE VISTA – Ahead of prom, Monte Vista High School students got a close look at the consequences of a drunken-driving crash via a mock accident.

With national data showing that DUI crashes increase for high school students during prom season, MVHS showed its students up close what can happen if they try to drive while under the influence.

Monte Vista High School Student Council co-sponsors Melissa Harlan and Kyle Behrman and Monte Vista Student Council, Monte Vista After-Prom, San Luis Valley Prom, San Luis Valley RETAC, Colorado Recycling, the Monte Vista Police Department, Monte Vista EMS, and the Rio Grande County Coroner collaborated on the demonstration.

The event began on Thursday, April 25, in the Monte Vista High School gymnasium. All junior and senior students were called over the loudspeaker at the school and asked to enter the gymnasium for the presentation.

Harlan introduced many of the people who would be speaking and providing presentations to the students.

“This is all a lot of work. I want to thank everyone for being here. We are going to start out in the gym, and then we are going to move out to the mock accident. I know there are going to be times when you may want to laugh at all of this, but remember people really die, this is a real thing. Please be respectful,” Harlan said.

A Colorado State Patrol addressed everyone stating that he wanted all the kids to have fun over the weekend at prom.

“We want you to have fun, but when you drink and drive, you’re not only putting yourselves at risk, you’re putting other people that are with you in the car at risk also. Even if your just drinking 3 to 1 beer, you are still impaired, especially being under the age of 21.”

The students were then invited to participate in a demonstration event held by law enforcement. Students were asked to walk down from the bleachers and put on goggles that would make their eyes see everything as if they were intoxicated. At least 12 students stepped down and put goggles on.

Students tried to toss rings on cones while wearing the goggles, and a few students did mock sobriety testing with officers asking them to walk a straight line, heel to toe without losing their balance. Students failed the test by walking outside of the lines.

After the goggles presentation it was announced that there would be a movie, on the giant projector, that had been placed in the middle of the gym. Students were told that if the movie was too much for them, they could leave, or look away at any time during the film.

The film was about 25 minutes long and showed actual footage from car accidents where deceased people were pulled out of the accidents in different ways. Many of the deceased were dismembered, and some had various empty bottles of alcohol in their vehicles that were being pulled out of the wreckage.

After the movie presentation it was announced that a video had been put together by student council members as an introduction to the mock accident that students would be going out to see. In the video that was shown, classmates of all the students watching could be seen preparing for prom, talking about how their nights would go, where they were going to eat, and how they would get together. There were two different crowds of classmates in the video. Students watched as one crowd of classmates was in one car, talking about their dinner and on their way to prom, while the other crowd of classmates was in another car, toasting and drinking alcoholic beverages, while the driver laughed and drank right along with them. In the scenario video the cars crashed into each other because the intoxicated vehicle moved into the wrong lane while both vehicles were driving.

All the students in the gym were then called out of the gym, to see the mock car accident outside. As the students walked towards the accident behind the school in a grassy area, EMS could be seen, along with police officers arriving on site, with their lights turned on, as the accident was an emergency, being depicted.

Outside one car was completely turned over, with obvious blood stains on the door, and a deceased girl lying under the car, hugging the ground, with serious fatal injuries all over her face.

Classmates that were inside the vehicles began to run out and check everyone outside and inside of the cars to see if they were OK. The classmates were screaming and shouting at each other, “Is everyone OK, omg she’s not breathing. Help. Help.” One guy that left the car, attempted emergency efforts to help his friend who was laying outside of the vehicle in her red prom dress, with her head bleeding, but it was determined by EMS that the girl was deceased. The coroner arrived, and three classmates were pronounced deceased and taken on stretchers and covered up.

Everyone watching the mock accident could be seen really looking at the accident, and many students who had walked out initially laughing and smiling, were suddenly noticeably quiet and looking towards the accident.

Alexia Rivera a student who planned to attend prom over the weekend, and watched the mock accident, stated, “It was very scary to watch my friends, so tragic.” When asked if it would help her to make good decisions over the weekend she stated, “Definitely, it will help me to keep others safe, too.”

Student Oakley Sisneros stated that although he was not planning to attend prom, the demonstration was a real eye-opener for him. “It’s pretty nerve wracking seeing my classmate, underneath a car.” When asked what he thought about seeing his classmates in the mock accident he stated, “I just wish they would have made better decisions. I hope they all stay safe this weekend.”

Harlan stated that she felt the demonstration went well, “The kids at first think it’s a big joke, but it is a sobering sight to see. When you get out there and see that, it’s your friends, and think that something like that could happen and does happen on occasion. The kids said that it was upsetting, and it made them think.”

Harlan stated that if she could send one message to the kids for the weekend she would say, “Go and have fun but be responsible, be careful, and make good choices.”

After the demonstration SLV Prom through a government grant, gave SLV After Prom $1,000 for providing the mock demonstration for the kids, and because the juniors and seniors chose to sign posters and pledge not to drink on prom night.