Above: MCHS student Jamie Thorn is escorted away by an RCMP member and a Community Peace Office. Thorn played the role of an impaired driver in Wednesday’s mock collision exercise.
MCHS held their pre-graduation mock collision today to give grads a visual reminder on the dangers of impaired driving. Here is our video coverage in photos, video and time lapse video.
Posted by MorinvilleNews.com on Wednesday, 27 May 2015
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by Stephen Dafoe
Sirens screamed through the streets behind Morinville Community High School (MCHS) Wednesday morning. Police, paramedics and firefighters arrived at the scene of a two-vehicle collision that claimed the life of one teenager, sent another to the hospital, and saw a third charged with impaired driving. Then everyone took off the theatrical makeup and went back to class.
With graduation ceremonies scheduled for mid-June, MCHS decided to take the important message of the consequences of drinking and driving to graphic levels once again this year.
“I hold it before grad so that people understand the repercussions if they do decide to drink and drive,” said Morinville RCMP Constable Jamie Short, the school resource officer who worked with partnering agencies to prepare the annual event. “They see that even one drink and driving – there’s a risk behind that, and it shows them what really happens.”
The event pooled multiple emergency resources. The Morinville RCMP Detachment, Morinville Fire Department, Community Peace Officers, EMS, Sturgeon Victim Services and a towing company all played a role in the event.
Sturgeon Victim Services Executive Director Donna McPherson sees education on the dangers of impaired driving as important preventative work. “We’re the ones that go out with police officers to do the next-of-kin notification with parents,” McPherson said. “Having to walk up to their doorstep and change their lives forever because their child has been killed as a result of drunk driving is one of the hardest things that we could have to do.”
She sees the mock collision as a valuable tool because of the real-time visual impact it has on students. “You hear about it. You read about it in the news. But until you see something – even though it is a staged event – it has a visual impact on you,” she said.
MCHS Grade 12 student Jamie Thorn played the role of the impaired driver in the mock collision exercise. Though only acting the part, the experience left Thorn moved. “I was actually crying because I could sense the emotion and how this actually feels,” she said. “It was heart-wrenching. I wanted to throw up. That’s how awful I felt.”
The student encourages fellow students to call a friend for a ride home, something she says she has done on a couple occasions. “Even if you have had one or two, don’t,” she said. “It’s not a risk [you should be] willing to take at all.”
While Constable Short said he has no statistics on what impact on student behaviour mock collisions have, enough have told him it has had an impact for him to keep doing the presentation. “They’ve said it has opened up their eyes by seeing what happens,” he said. “They tell me after seeing this that they’ll make sure they don’t drink and drive or have their friends drink and drive.”
Short said the exercise is an opportunity for students to see the role each party plays in an emergency situation.
His advice for students is simple. Don’t drink and drive. “If anyone decides to drink, please don’t drive. Call someone. Call a taxi. Get a friend. Sometimes when you go to a party, you say you won’t drink, and then decide to later on. It’s better to call someone and wake them up than [it is] to decide to drink and drive.”