May 2, 2014
This morning, juniors and seniors slowly walked to the football field to an experience many hope to never personally encounter. The brisk air and the cold bleachers added to what would be an unforgettable morning. As the two classes cozied up on the bleachers and faced toward the field, all that could be seen was a brown and green tarp draped over a scene that would soon be uncovered. The chatter continued among the students. The staff stood idly at each end of the bleachers. Only a small group of students stood solemnly on the field. Only the wind made noise as the tarp was slowly removed.
What sat before the student body was a crash site; a site that included their fellow classmates. The only visible body was that of junior Alexandra Cook; her arm and head smashed through the rear window on the driver’s side of the car. The cars were a mangled mess. The crash was head on with glass shattered everywhere. The voice of senior Sage Keyes rang through the ears of her classmates. It was her “special night.” It was prom night. It wasn’t supposed to end like this. She was supposed to make it to a bonfire, with her date, with her friends. She wasn’t supposed to end up in a body bag. She wouldn’t have if it weren’t for a drunk driver. Soon, the entire scene would be filled with police, firemen, debris, stretchers, the coroner and two dead students.
This year’s pre-prom assembly was a simulation of what could result from the dangers of driving under the influence. Select juniors and seniors served as actors in a mock crash site, with other classmates also fulfilling the roles of emergency personnel. While no students were actually injured on the football field, the site and assembly were created to leave a lasting impact of what could happen if a student chooses to drink and drive.
“It looked pretty real; it kind of scared me actually,” said senior Sam Daniels
Many students were shaken up after the horrifying portrayal of what drinking and driving can do to somebody. After sitting in silence for 10 minutes, police dispatch rolled in and that’s when the adrenaline and reality of the situation began to sink in. Within 15 minutes of the police arriving, another police car came, two fire trucks, several ambulances and a coroner were on the scene. While the authorities were working on dismantling the vehicles to safely remove the passengers, several phone calls were heard over the loudspeakers by the students in the car’s parents and friends asking where they all were and if they were okay.
The voice of Keyes’s mother shattered through the already broken glass on the field. “Sage. Sage. Sage, are you okay. You haven’t called me back and I’m starting to get worried about you. Sage, please call me back,” she said. The fear of her missing daughter poured out of her trembling voice. Little did she know, Sage was already labeled “D.O.A.”Crash
The simulation resulted in the death of two of the passengers, one in each car, and the arrest of the driver at fault for drinking and driving, as well as reckless homicide. When all of the passengers were removed from the scene in either police cars or by ambulance, there was a moment of silence to, once again, see what damage drinking and driving can cause.
Senior Matt Birkman said, “I think it was a good representation of what could happen, but what shouldn’t happen. This traumatic scene will definitely play a role, hopefully it will open up people’s minds so they can realize what can happen.”
Although drinking and driving accidents take a heavy toll on the family and friends of the people involved in the accident, it also deeply affects the authorities that helped them.
Antioch Fire Department Captain James Dalgaard said, “Typically after an accident I begin thinking about the people I know and that this could be them if they’re not careful. When we’re actually working you’re concentrating on doing the task at hand, but afterwards we’ll sit down and talk about it then the emotions start to come out. It’s what we call a debriefing, we have counselors come in and talk to us.”
He also said that, “the simulation is very authentic, I mean everything you saw today was something that would happen at at real scene. The only thing that would be different is the amount of damage on the cars, in a real situation it would be a lot worse.”
Drinking and driving is a very serious matter that can result in death or serious injury. No matter who or what age you are, driving under any kind of influence can have deadly consequences, and you should never take that risk. If anyone you know or even yourself could be a danger to others by getting behind the wheel of a car, don’t. Life is too valuable to be careless and make a poor decision
Video, audio and photos by Lauren Ponzetti, Nick Dorosan, Johnny Horton and Nathaniel Alexander.
The voice recording by Sage Keyes was part of the pre-prom assembly. Keyes recorded and scripted the audio with the assistance and guidance of Wanda Teddy, fine arts department chair and drama teacher.