GSHS students get a crash course in safe driving
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A high school girl wearing an ivory ankle-length prom dress lies face down on the hood of a crumpled red Mazda. She’s covered with blood.
A high school boy, drunk and dazed, gets out of the driver’s side of a black Toyota. Moments before, he crossed the yellow line and hit the Mazda head-on.
The girl in the prom dress was ejected through the Mazda’s windshield on impact. She is dead.
Her friends in the Mazda have a range of injuries, from major head trauma to paralysis. The passenger in the Toyota is also severely injured.
The police arrive and the drunk driver, after failing his roadside sobriety test, is handcuffed and hauled away.
There were plenty of witnesses. Virtually the entire junior and senior classes at Glenwood Springs High School were standing right alongside the road, watching as the tragedy unfolded in front of them.
This was the scene Wednesday morning on Roaring Fork Drive behind GSHS.
Called a mock D.U.I. and produced primarily by a group of GSHS students, the exercise is meant to serve as a grim reminder to the school’s junior and senior classes of the dangers of drinking and driving – and just in time for prom.
“The prom is this Saturday,” said principal Mike Wells, “so it’s important we do this before then. This can happen to any kid.”
Wells said the school usually does a staged D.U.I. car accident like this one every other year so upperclassmen all have a chance to see the presentation.
This year, three students – Tess Jankovsky, Promise Bauers and Katie Waibel – spearheaded the mock D.U.I. Working with the high school’s medical preparatory students and their instructor, Judy Burke, as well as student actors, organizers contacted the Glenwood Springs Fire Department and Police Department, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department, Colorado State Patrol and three other agencies.
Juniors and seniors filed out of the high school around 10 a.m. Wednesday morning and stood facing the road, where a giant orange tarp covered the mock car accident scene, with the two wrecked cars and the six bloodied mock accident victims underneath.
The students chatted and stood around, waiting. But all that changed when several participating students tore the tarp away, revealing the gruesome crash scene. Horrified screams and nervous laughter spread through the onlookers.
Amplified by a P.A. system, Ron Milhorn of KMTS radio described the scene to the students, They quietly watched as emergency vehicles raced to the scene and firefighters and police officers tended to the injured.
Students looked on with concern as firefighters used vehicle extraction tools to saw off the top of the Mazda to get to the passengers inside.
“This makes them aware, and hopefully will prevent the real thing,” said Ron Biggers, of the Glenwood Springs Fire Department.
Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518
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