Saturday, May 01, 2010

TOP STORY >> Preventing prom-night tragedy

Baptist Health MedFlight arrives for the enactment of a drunk-driving accident.

The Jacksonville Fire Department moves an accident victim during the exercise.


Leader staff writer

Jacksonville High School and North Pulaski High School juniors and seniors Thursday were given a wakeup call on the eve of their proms to the dangers of drinking and driving with the re-creation of a fatal car accident.

The Jacksonville Police Department presented “Every 15 Minutes,” an alcohol awareness program at Jacksonville High School.

According to a JPD press release, every 15 minutes someone in the U.S. is killed or injured in an alcohol-related crash.

During the re-enactment at Jacksonville High, every 15 minutes the grim reaper went into a classroom and escorted a student out. Then the student’s obituary was read to the class.

Makeup artist Katie Rowland of Sherwood transformed 20 students into zombies and they returned to the class.

By mid-afternoon, 11th and 12th graders from North Pulaski High School and Jacksonville High School went to Jan Crow Stadium to witness the aftermath of a simulated crash scene.

At the scene, a group of prom-goers drove up to a two-car wreck. The teens realize the people involved in the crash are their friends. Emergency responders rushed to the site. In one vehicle a student died at the scene while another teen was transported by Med-Flight to Baptist Hospital. The driver of the second vehicle was arrested for driving while intoxicated.

After the program ended, Jacksonville Police Captain Kenny Boyd said, “I think it went really good. The high school students who were the role players did an outstanding job.”

“I feel like the program was successful getting the message on not drinking and driving and the consequences if you do,” he said.

Boyd continued, “It sent chills up my spine. Watching it as a parent you never want to experience this scenario.”

Helping the police department provide realism at the accident scene were the Jacksonville Fire Department, the Pulaski County coroner, the Arkansas Highway Police, Wood Bean Funeral Home, North Metro Medical Center and Ivy Hall Wrecker Service.

On Friday, students attended an assembly to speak about what they learned and gained from the experience.

They also watched a video of Thursday’s program.