Mock accident designed to teach students danger of drunk driving
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Had the scene at Falkville High School last week been an actual event, the headline might have read, "One killed, six injured in prom night drinking and driving accident."
Fortunately, no one was injured in the mock presentation made prior to the FHS prom April 1, but students were led through the events as if the tragic two-car wreck were unfolding before their very eyes on the front lawn of the school.
FHS seniors Jennifer Higginbotham, Amy McCormick and Justin Cannon portrayed passengers in one of the mangled cars, driven by "drunk driver" junior Alex Holt. All four were dressed for prom night festivities.
The second car held a family of three, portrayed by seniors Jesse Calvert and Jessica Whited and a baby doll strapped securely in an infant car seat.
As the mangled cars and bloodied bodies were presented to the audience, the Morgan County Emergency Dispatch issued the following call–"This is a mock drill at 43 Clark Drive in Falkville. There has been a two-car accident with entrapment, multiple injuries and an ejected passenger."
Screams for help sounded from the two vehicles' trapped victims, but no sound came from the girl in a black prom dress who lay bloodied and motionless across the hood of one of the cars.
Within moments, sirens and flashing lights flooded the accident scene.
The prom-goers' driver emerged from his crumpled vehicle, stumbling and crawling to safety. Officers quickly apprehended the young man and issued a series of sobriety tests.
The driver, who failed each test, was handcuffed and placed in the back of a cop car.
While officers were dealing with the drunk driver, fire and rescue personnel and EMTs attended to those trapped in both vehicles. Equipment was brought to the scene to free them.
However, no one was paying much attention to the young girl in the black prom dress. Rescue workers found no signs of life and covered her body with a white sheet. A frantic parent arrived moments later and discovered the body under the sheet was that of her daughter.
"No, no! Tell me it's not my baby," the lady pleaded.
Some of the victims were removed through broken car windows, while others had to wait for parts of the car to be cut away before being rescued. One by one, the students and the family were transported by ambulance to receive further medical care.
Once everyone was safe, emergency personnel began loading their equipment and cleaning up the scene. However, one more task was left undone.
A hearse rolled up slowly to the scene. Morgan County Coroner Russ Beard stepped out and shook hands with a fireman.
He went to the covered body still lying across the hood of a car. He lifted the sheet, checked for signs of life, and determined the victim had died upon impact.
The few rescue workers left at the scene helped Beard strap the body to a gurney and roll it into the hearse as the victim's mother sobbed.
The reason for this dramatic presentation was simple–have fun on prom night, but be safe, don't drink and drive, and stay alive.
Those who helped make the presentation included American Ambulance Service, Decatur Fire and Rescue, Explorer Post 911, Falkville Police Department, Falkville Volunteer Fire Department, Hartselle Heritage Funeral Home, Parker's Towing, 67 Auto Salvage and many others.
"If it makes a difference to just one student," Beard said, "it was well worth the effort."