Arcanum prepares for prom with mock crash

ARCANUM – With the junior and senior prom set for this weekend, the Arcanum-Butler High School SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) sponsored the Miami Valley’s Drive Smart program Wednesday afternoon in the parking lot behind the school building. High school students huddled together to witness a head-on mock crash scenario that organizers and school staff presented to show the kids the dangers of being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and texting while behind the wheel of a vehicle.

The traditional mock crash presentation is normally held during prom week, every few years, in hopes the students will think before drinking and/or using illegal drugs. According to national polls, more than 90 percent of teens believe their fellow classmates will likely drink and drive on prom night.

“I love each and every one of you guys and it would kill me if something like this would happen to any of you,” High School Principal Jason Stephan told the kids. “I hope you learned today how making a decision to drink and drive can impact so many lives.”

With the sounds of crunching metal, screeching tires and shattering glass filling the air, the Arcanum students watched as the mock crash scene was unveiled. They saw their classmate, who portrayed the drunk driver, get out of the vehicle only to see his friend and passenger was mortally wounded as he lay bloodied on the hood of the car. Police soon arrived on the scene to investigate the crash before ordering the drunk teen to perform an array of field sobriety tests.

As Arcanum Fire and Rescue personnel arrived on the scene, they went to work to extricate the injured victims of the van the high school student struck head-on while under the influence. CareFlight landed to rush one of the patients to the trauma center at Miami Valley Hospital, while the other occupant of the van was taken to a Wayne HealthCare with less severe injuries. Police soon arrested the “drunk teenager” responsible for causing the crash that killed his friend and critically injured two innocent people. Finally, the students watched as the Darke County Coroner’s Office removed the dead teenage passenger to be transported to Kreitzer Funeral Home.

According to CareFlight Outreach Coordinator and Flight Nurse Mandy Via, Premier Health teams up with local high schools to present over 20 sixty minute mock crashes around the Miami Valley the area as part of the Drive Smart program.

“I would do this everyday if I could,” Via told The Early Bird. “If this can help save one student and a family it makes it all worth it!”

In addition to the mock crash, SADD club members junior Alexis Kreusch and senior Danielle Hurley read poems written by actual victims and family members of real-life accidents involving teen drinking and drug usage. At the end of the program, students listened as a Miami County mother, Laura Seger, relived the night of Sept. 21, 2010 that she lost her 18-year-old son Joey to a crash. Seger told the kids how a woman that was under the influence smashed into a vehicle occupied by her son and husband. Though both were wearing their seat belts, Joey was thrown from the car, dying instantly.

“You need to think about what you are doing before getting behind the wheel of a 2,000 pound machine,” Seger told the Arcanum students. “Not just during prom, but every single day!”

Arcanum’s SADD program has more than 70 members, according to Colleen Baker, club advisor.

“We hope today’s mock crash will help the kids make the right choices,” Baker said. “It is all about educating them about the dangers of using drugs or alcohol and even about texting while driving.”

According to www.textinganddrivingsafety.com, 77 percent of young adult drivers are confident they can safely text while operating a vehicle.

To learn more about the Miami Valley Drive Smart program visit the Miami Valley Hospital website at www.miamivalleyhospital.org. For information about the SADD program visit sadd.org.

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