Photo Gallery | North Central students learn importance of decisions through mock crash
Lit by spotlight in North Central High School’s theater, Travis Sines remembers the rollover crash that killed his friend, Brandon Hay, in 2009. Sines knew he turned a corner too fast. The car flipped multiple times, landed in a ditch along Lovell Valley Road and caught on fire.
Hay was ejected from the vehicle during the crash and transported to Kootenai Medical Center where he died.
According to federal court documents, Sines was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana when he crashed the car. Sines told his story in front of hundreds of students Thursday morning hoping they wouldn’t make the same mistake.
“Your parents don’t want you to die before you do,” Sines said.
He turns his back to the audience and lifts his shirt so everyone can see the scars of his mistake. His scars were real. When the lights turned on in the theater, students poured outside to see a similar situation, staged, but realistic to get a sense of the dangers they face when making bad decisions.
A large semi truck moves out of their way to reveal a head-on crash along Howard St. just outside the school. It’s prom night and girls in their dresses rush to their friend hanging outside the windshield covered in blood. Crying, they ask her to wake up, but there’s no response.
Smoke pours out of the car triggered by a student tucked away on the other side, out of view of the audience. The mock crash is designed to recreate a situation as realistic as possible.
The students cry, “What have you done”, to the boy who crashed the car. Beer cans are scattered outside the doors.
Meanwhile, first responders are waiting for their dispatch call a few blocks away. Officer Teresa Fuller with Spokane Police calls them in. In the distance, you can hear their sirens blaring closer and closer to the scene of the accident. Like a real accident, firefighters and medics rush to the victims and survivors to do what they can.
“Obviously it’s not real life, but these actors that participate from the high schools get into it. We get into it,” Fuller said. “It really opens their eyes of what could happen and the dangers of drunk driving and texting and driving especially around the prom and graduation season.”
The mock crash has its poetic moments. A hearse drives away from the scene and the ghosts of the students, killed by the crash, walk away hand-in-hand in black cloaks, their faces white with death.
School teacher and advisor Chuck Fillippini helps plan the crash every other year. He hopes it brings awareness to the students the number one cause of death in teenagers is motor vehicle accidents.
“I want them to make sure they make good choices especially in the spring when we know underage drinking goes on,” Fillippini said. “We don’t want any deaths in Spokane County.”
The acting students walked away from that crash alive, but in some situations, they don’t. Sines’ personal experience explained that with the crash that killed his friend and injured another.
“I don’t want to be a bad person. I just want to do good, like the child I was growing up,” Sines said. “I feel bad he’s gone.”
On a final note, Sines tells the students of North Central High School: “It’s not what happened to you that matters, it’s what you do that counts.”