'This could happen to you'

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Mock wreck shows dangers of driving drunk

By Phyllis McLaughlin

It was only a drill, but it was very realistic.


Members of the Trimble County EMS and volunteer firefighters from Bedford and Milton, along with Sheriff Tim Coons and his deputies, and troopers from Kentucky State Police Post 5, showed juniors and seniors at Trimble County High School what a drunken-driving accident scene can look like.

Emergency crews arrived in their vehicles, lights flashing and sirens blaring toward two mangled vehicles placed in the rear parking lot to appear as though a car had broadsided and gone underneath an SUV.

Empty beer cans were strewn inside one of the vehicles. Clearly, it was a sign the driver had been drinking. He was not badly injured and was arrested at the scene.

One passenger thrown from the SUV was laying across the hood of the other car. Pronounced dead; her body was covered with a sheet and set out of the way.

The Jaws of Life were used to remove the roof of the automobile so a badly injured passenger could be tended to, and to remove the SUV driver. The scene was realistic, right down to a medical helicopter landing nearby.

Before the demonstration, students listened as speakers warned what could happen to them if they choose to drink alcohol and drive. It was the day before prom, set Saturday, April 25, at Hanover College in Indiana.

KSP Trooper Mike Webb said 772 wrecks occurred in the commonwealth in which drivers were 16-19 with passengers ages 13-16. About two dozen students were brought from the stands to represent those killed in the accidents; each carried the name of one of the victims.

“These are real faces, real names, real families – and they’re not here,” Webb said. “I’ve been a state trooper for a long time ... every time I see somebody dead, especially a kid, it stinks. ... This can happen to you.”

“I hope the choice you make is one where we don’t have to use a body bag,” said Ronnie Barnes, chief of the Milton volunteer department.

Principal Stirling Sampson said getting in a car to drive after drinking alcohol is a “selfish choice.”

“There is that uncertainty that there might be the one person who makes a bad choice tomorrow,” he said, inviting the students to “Project Prom,” an afterprom party designed “to decrease the number of parents who have to stand at gravesites.”

On Monday, Sampson said Saturday’s prom was “awesome” and reported no accidents involving anyone from the TCHS prom.

“No problems,” he said. “Thank God.”