Simulated crash gets students’ attention

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – April 30, 2014

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Though a fatal car-pedestrian accident Wednesday morning outside Highland Park High School was only a re-enactment, the safety message that organizers hoped to achieve came through loud and clear for several hundred students who looked on from bleachers that were set up for the event.

The scenario, which was devised by Highland Park students in cooperation with school resource officer Larry Gonzales, had two students hit by a car as they crossed the 2100 block of S.E. 25th — just south of the school.

The driver of the silver Mitsubishi Eclipse convertible — portrayed by senior Logan Flowers — was said to have been sending a text message on his phone at the time of the accident.

The Mitsubishi struck two students who were walking across S.E. 25th in the middle of the block. The first student, portrayed by senior Kameron Clark, was killed in the mock accident, while classmate Corey Jackson was critically injured.

Four Topeka Metro buses were parked in front of the accident scene, obstructing the view of students as they filed into the portable, aluminum bleachers. When all the students had been seated, the buses pulled away, revealing the carnage on the street in front of them.

Students saw Clark lying on his back in front of the stationary car, while Jackson’s head and shoulders were underneath the rear portion of the vehicle.

A couple of students rushed to the sides of both Clark and Jackson and waited with them until first responders arrived.

Personnel from the Topeka Police Department, the Topeka Fire Department, American Medical Response and First Call transportation services all took part in the exercise.

Clark said the re-enactment, which included a fair amount of simulated blood on the victims and on the street pavement, provided a graphic example of what can happen when drivers — and pedestrians — aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.

“You can talk about things as adults, but kids need to see it,” Clark said. “Sometimes, you can scare people into doing the right thing.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

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