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McKENZIE (April 5) — The 647 juniors and seniors from the five Carroll County special school districts gathered Friday at the football stadium at McKenzie Middle School to witness a mock crash …
McKENZIE (April 5) — The 647 juniors and seniors from the five Carroll County special school districts gathered Friday at the football stadium at McKenzie Middle School to witness a mock crash and see first-hand what can happen when young people make the choice to drive while impaired by drugs, alcohol or distractions such as texting.
It’s the fifth year that mock crashes have been organized by Carroll County Coordinated School Health, but the first year all five schools have combined for one event and the first year that the new Carroll County Prevention Coalition has shared in putting the event together.
With the juniors and seniors watching from the bleachers, several students and parents and dozens of first responders played out a scenario all too common: Two vehicles containing six teens have crashed, resulting in multiple injuries.
The driver from one car emerges with a head injury and discovers that her passenger has been thrown onto the hood and is unresponsive.
The driver of the other car stumbles out and is helped up by a passenger. Both have minor injuries. Two other passengers remain trapped in the car.
First responders arrive and begin assessing the scene. The passenger on the hood is pronounced dead and covered with a sheet. The first driver is interviewed by an officer, then given a field sobriety test and arrested for drunk driving. During the process, the father of the deceased arrives and angrily confronts the driver. He is also arrested.
The other driver, who had been texting, and one passenger are treated on the scene. The other two passengers are extracted and taken on stretchers to an ambulance.
The deceased teen is placed into a body bag and taken to the middle of the field, where first responders and the mother surround him to mourn.
During the enactment, statistics on impaired driving and laws are read, along with a poem from the perspective of a teen as she dies following a crash.
Following the mock crash, all of the county juniors and seniors traveled to McKenzie High School to hear a guest speaker, Erica Ross of Gleason. During lunch at their respective home schools, students were asked to sign a “prom promise” to not drive impaired or distracted.
In an interview with media, including The Banner, Khrystian Bynum, Carroll County Prevention Coalition Coordinator, said, “Especially with prom season coming up, we really want to make sure they see potentially what the most serious consequences can be. It’s all about prevention, just making sure they’re educated and informed. The most we can do is help them make a good decision.”
Mandy Drewry, Director of Carroll County Coordinated School Health, added, “Hopefully it made it more real for them, hopefully for them to make a choice not to drink and drive or text and drive and to be safe.”
Volunteers and participants in the event included: Mandy Drewry, Director of Carroll County Coordinated School Health; Jennifer Medford, Carroll County Coordinated School Health Assistant; Khrystian Bynum, Carroll County Prevention Coalition Coordinator; McKenzie Police Department; McKenzie Fire Department; Baptist EMS; Carroll County Rescue Squad; Carroll County Sheriff’s Department; Carroll County Fire Department; Carroll County Emergency Management; Tennessee Highway Patrol; Ryan Griffin; Dale’s Recycling; Brummit Funeral Home; Spiros Roditis; Jan Latimer; Christian Nunnery; Jeremy Hampton; McKenzie High School; McKenzie Elementary School; McKenzie Middle School; McKenzie Superintendent Lynn Watkins; all the teacher sponsors and principals at all five special school districts.
Student actors were P.J. Odom of West Carroll; Ashton Marr and Maggie Latimer of McKenzie; Dawson Gremmels of Huntingdon; Shy’Ann Williams of Clarksburg; and Olivia Frazee of Hollow Rock-Bruceton. Other student volunteers were Aubree Glissen, Ryleigh Davie and Sierra Keenan, all of McKenzie.