GRATIS — Preble Shawnee High School held its mock accident on Thursday, April 12, to remind students to make smart choices before prom, after prom, and every other day they’re on the road.
This year’s event was held by the Junior Class, which is advised by Secretary Kathy Blevins. She explained, the district does not hold mock accidents every year, although they would like to. Due to bad weather, the last Preble Shawnee mock crash was held four years ago.
“It is important for the students to see something like this before prom, because it reminds them that they are not invincible,” Blevins said. “A lot of kids might want to do something after prom and we thought seeing this was important. I can look through the crowd today and see a lot of faces. This is hitting close to home for them, but I really think it is needed.”
The mock crash puts on display a head-on collision between two cars full of students, one being driven by a drunk driver. Two students are “injured” in the crash, one of which is taken on CareFlight, another student “dies” upon impact, as she goes through the windshield — and the drunk driver is arrested.
The production was a collaboration between Preble Shawnee Local Schools, Premier Health, MedFlight, Preble County Sheriff’s Department, Gratis Fire Department, West Elkton Fire Department, Camden Somers-Township Fire and EMS, Gratis Rescue, and Bales’ Funeral Home.
The kids who acted in the mock crash were all participants in Student Senate, of which Blevins is also in charge. All Preble Shawnee High School students, grades 9-12, were invited to watch the mock accident, but could be excused with permission from a guardian.
Ann Brock narrated the mock crash and led the production. She is the Trauma Outreach Coordinator with Atrium Medical Center. She explained, “This was a mock crash, trying to teach and educate these kids about the dangers of drinking and driving and how to make right choices.
“Prom can be a day and evening where kids may indulge, especially at the after parties, so this is just a day to think about choices and making the right choice.”
Once the CareFlight helicopter took off and the hearse pulled away, parent speaker Laura Cruea stood in front of the kids to tell her story. Cruea lost one of her sons in a crash, due to a driver who was high at the time. Her husband was also disabled during that crash.
Her son was wearing his seat belt, but the crash was so violent that his seat belt was severed and he was projected from the vehicle. On his way out the windshield, he hit his father, causing several injuries, including a broken neck.
“In the blink of an eye, I lost a functioning husband, a son, and I am now head of household. I am responsible for everything in my home. I don’t want it. I want my old life back. I want my [son] back,” she said. “Instead of college tours, prom, and graduation, for his senior year I got to plan his funeral. I had to pick out his clothes for his last day and write his obituary.”
“I got to see him one more time before we had to close the casket lid,” she continued. “We had to do closed-casket because glass and face does not go together, but I am his mom and you cannot take him away without me seeing him one more time. So the funeral home did a good job of covering up what I shouldn’t see. I got to see half the right side of his nose, his right eye, his right ear, and part of his right cheek. That is the last memory I have of my child.”
“When you are out and about together, please make good choices,” the grieving mother urged Shawnee students. “This isn’t just about prom, this is about life. If you are out at prom doing something you shouldn’t be doing, do not get behind the wheel of that car. If you have one of anything that impairs you, do not get behind the wheel of that car. You call somebody to come and get you, because once that white sheet hits the ground and there is a body under it, there is no going back.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH