Mock prom crash impacts students

WHS students participate in mock crash

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Mock prom crash impacts students

Jennifer Somers, Reporter

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On April 13, the Washington Fire Department staged a mock prom crash at their training center to raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving with the help from the theater guilds at both WHS and St. Francis Borgia High School.

The mock crash began with the reveal of two vehicles that had hit each other head-on. After “impact,” students piled out of the cars dressed in prom attire.

Junior Max Ruether, who played the drunk driver responsible for the crash, recalls the little notice given for his role.

We were assigned our parts the night before the actual crash,” Ruether said. “Officer Tollison wanted to keep it as real as possible, so he didn’t give us too much time to think about our characters. He wanted us to mostly improvise because you wouldn’t be planning what to do if you were in a real accident.”

This improvisation resulted with lifelike reactions from the student actors. The passengers that came out of the cars without injury could be heard sobbing and arguing with each other on the sidelines throughout the production.

Volunteer firefighters and paramedics added to the sense of realness by following typical procedures, like treating injuries and removing the wounded individuals from the car, as well as consoling parents and students that were observing the scene.

Once the crash scene was cleared, school resource officer Doug Tollison addressed the student audiences and emphasized the risks of drunk driving.

“Talking to the firefighter and ambulance crews here in Washington, they can tell you how many different kids that they’ve pulled out of wreckage like this or arrested for DWI and had their lives ruined due to poor decision making,” Tollison said.

Senior Tori Tidwell, who played the front seat passenger that died immediately due to not wearing a seat belt, can account for the significant importance of the mock crash on impacting future decisions of teen drivers.

It was a great visual situation to encourage teens to rethink what state they are in before getting behind the wheel,” Tidwell said. “Drinking and driving is a serious problem in our community, and I’m glad that I was able to help address that issue.”

Ruether was also affected by his close involvement with the production, and it opened his eyes to the severity of similar accidents.

I have a new-found respect for the special forces in our community,” Ruether said. “They do so much to keep us safe, and the things they deal with are something that I could never imagine doing.”