Mock crash shows realities of driving while intoxicated

By Jessie Wagoner
Emporia Gazette – April 10, 2015

Photo by Jessie Wagoner.

Photo by Jessie Wagoner.

The crash scene looked eerily realistic at Emporia High School on Thursday morning. A young man laid bloody on the pavement while a young woman ejected from the vehicle lay dead on a hood of a car. Though the scene looked real it was actually a mock DUI crash, created to help reinforce the message that driving while intoxicated can cost lives.
“This is to illustrate the risks of drinking and driving,” said Trevor Matthews, principal at EHS. “To make it real for them.”
The mock DUI crash is conducted every two years, typically before prom weekend. The event is coordinated by EHS theater students and faculty and a number of community partners.
“This is our theater department, where all the student actors come from,” Matthews said. “Then the Emporia Police Department, the Emporia Fire Department and Roberts-Blue-Barnett Funeral Home.”
Megan Strum, theater teacher, said the students put a good deal of effort into the event. Theater students filled two vehicles as crash victims. Additional students acted as witnesses to the accident. Melanie Sperka and Maite Garcia helped with the extensive makeup, creating realistic head wounds complete with glass shards protruding from victims heads.
As the student body filed outside they first saw the crash scene then heard the 911 call being placed, requesting help for their classmates. Sirens blared as police officers and paramedics arrived on scene and began to assess the injuries of those students in the mock crash.
“Wow, it looks real,” one student said. “Is that Aubrey on the car?”
Aubrey Jenkins played the role of the fatality. She lay on the hood of a car, covered in blood and surrounded by glass and debris. She was covered with a sheet, eventually placed into a body bag and then into the hearse and taken away.
As paramedics tended to the injured students the police began to speak to one of the drivers, played by Vanessa Garcia. The police conducted a field sobriety test and placed Garcia under arrest and into the police car. As Garcia was being placed in the car, one of the students acting as a witness began to yell.
“Are you happy with yourself,” he yelled. “Look what you did. Aubrey is dead because of you.”
Once the crash scene was cleared and the victims were all treated and taken from the scene, the theater students addressed the crowd. They provided some facts about DUI crashes and encouraged their friends to avoid drinking and driving.
“Nearly 13,000 people are killed each year in alcohol-related accidents,” Zulema Renteria said. “Hundreds of thousands are injured. Don’t drink and drive.”
Students that participated in the event included Aubrey Jenkins, Mason Polston, Vanessa Garcia, Nikki Rice, Alyssa Glover, Sadj Davis, Corben Acevado, Abbi Weiser, Bailey Estes, Tristan Winnans, Ashley Mitchell, Corrine Payton, Melanie Sperka and Maite Garcia.
“They all did a great job,” said Megan Sturm, EHS theater teacher and director. “Now that I have done one of these I have some ideas of how we can add to it in the future and include even more students.”



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