Consequences of drinking and driving brought to life for LC students | Events
It was a somber scene this morning at Lewis & Clark High School as students, staff and parents participated in a mock crash. The mock crash is designed to create a realistic enactment of the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Many high schools in the area stage a mock crash for junior and senior students every other year prior to prom. LC, however, has not had one since 1995. DECA teacher, Chantel Czarapata, wants this years crash to become a regular part of life as a tiger.
Czarapata was inspired to bring back the mock crash after one of her students, Jacoby Bryant, was killed in 2010. The crash was occurred near 54th and Hatch on Spokane's South Hill and was alcohol related. School counselor, Bob Adams, says that every year LC hears of at least five students, either current or recent graduates, that have been involved in accidents while under the influence.
Paul Fuchs is with Project Imprint and helps stage mock crashes alongside Washington State Troopers, firefighters and Hennessey Smith Funeral Home. Fuchs lost his older sister to a drunk driver 35 years ago and says that the pain of losing someone in that fashion never goes away.
“We don't often realize the impact until it happens,” Fuchs told students this morning as he described the night his sister was killed, “What I saw that night literally changed my life.”
Fuchs lead an assembly sharing his personal experiences as an intro the mock crash waiting for students outside the school. Audio was played to create the scenario of what was going on in the car prior to the crash. Students were heard laughing and having a good time when shouts of “you only live once” became screams of “you're going the wrong the way”. The audio ended with screeching tires and a 911 operator.
On the street, students were greeted by the aftermath of a head on collision. Students acted out a scene of chaos and uncertainty as people were tapped in the vehicles and thrown from the front window onto the hood of the car. Firetrucks and ambulances soon arrived making the crash even more real for onlookers.
Firefighters broke out windows and sawed off the top of one vehicle to show what is often needed to rescue people in major crashes. Student participants were covered with fake injuries as they were wheeled away on stretchers. Funeral home representatives wheeled two students past their peers in body bags. The student playing the role of the driver was given a field sobriety test, cuffed and placed in the back of a police vehicle.
While the crash and make up may have been fake, students playing the roles of those in the crash say the emotions were very real. 17 year old Kiley Barz, a junior, says that the students in both vehicles are all good friends and that this was a situation that could happen in theory. Other students told their peers following the mock crash that they were shocked at how affected they were just playing the part, they described themselves as shaking and they felt helpless as they saw their friends laying lifeless, even though it wasn't real.
Emma Lyons, a 14-year-old freshman, says her parents are both ER doctors and that she has grown up hearing stories of kids like her being treated for crash related injuries and that she wanted her peers to be aware of how very real it all is. Brie Cole, a 16-year-old sophomore, wanted her classmates to realize that it could happen to any of them, and that is why it was important that the students involved were friends in real life.
In addition to a mock crash, a mock funeral was held for the two students portrayed as losing their lives on the hood of car. Eulogies were read for Grace Martz and Davis Mathieu by their closest friends, and a slide show of pictures from their lives was played for the student body. A casket sat in front of the bleachers and their parents looked on.
“If you want to see where you're at in life and where you're headed, try writing your own eulogy,” Fuchs told the student body.
Parents were also on hand to share how they were impacted by the mock crash. They said they found it powerful and heartbreaking. Martz's mother asked them to think about all the things they would miss out in their lives.
Students were asked to raise their hands if the crash had any impact on them what so ever, almost every hand in the room was up. Czarapata hopes that what they experienced today and the testimonies they heard will make students stop and think about the impact of their actions.
Mock crashes are scheduled for Central Valley, East Valley, Mt. Spokane and Ferris in the coming weeks leading up to high school prom season. Most other high schools in the area hosted them last year. To see more images from today's mock crash at Lewis & Clark view our photo gallery LC Mock Crash.