As the Farmington High School Class of 2016 prepares for Senior Week, they were given a graphic reminder of what happens when bad choices are made as they watched their classmates participate in a mock accident on the school’s lower parking lot on Friday afternoon.
With the help of the Farmington Police and Fire Departments, St. Francois County Ambulance District and Cozean Memorial Chapel, students witnessed how a fatal motor vehicle accident is handled by first responders.
“The message we are trying to deliver is drinking and driving is a dangerous thing to do, and underage drinking has serious consequences,” said Sgt. Sam Weekley, the school’s resource officer. “It can lead to fatal accidents and life-changing events. If we can make a difference in someone doing this, the program has been a success.”
With the help of the theater department, 10 students, dressed in prom attire, saturated in blood and made to look as if they were actually in a car accident, participated in a mock accident involving two vehicles.
As the drama played out, the senior students who watched from the hillside saw the accident was caused by a drunk driver and left one student dead, three seriously injured and the rest suffering moderate to minor injuries.
According to several students, watching their friends act out the scenario was quite effective.
“I definitely thought it was going be a lot different before the mock accident,” said Sydney Gibbs who was one of the participants in the mock accident. “I didn’t expect the realness of it. I was lying in an ambulance staring at the ceiling. That really put it into perspective.”
During the accidents, first responders gave the students a simulation of what can happen in a serious accident.
“We feel this program is really effective,” said Farmington Fire Chief Todd Mecey. “The students also get an education from people who have been involved in these types of situations, and I think it has definitely made an impact on the students.”
Once the mock accident was over, the seniors were gathered into the Centene Center where they were shown a video of students in real-life accidents presented by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
“This is one of the better programs that really hits home with the students,” said Cpl. Juston Wheetley with the Missouri Highway Patrol. “It brings the reality of the dangers of distractive driving, speeding and driving while impaired.”
Craig Vaughn is a reporter with the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or at email@example.com