Shelbyville Daily Union

March 27, 2014

Accident scene comes with a lesson

VALORIE EVERSOLE - Daily Union Reporter
Shelbyville Daily Union

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Two cars collide head-on in front of Cowden-Herrick High School. Eight prom goers are involved.

This was the scenario played out before Cowden-Herrick junior high and high schoolers Wednesday afternoon. An accident was staged so they may see the consequences of drinking and driving.

As the students watch another car pulls up with two more students dressed for prom. After assessing the scene they call 9-1-1. In the meantime three students get out of the cars, one is hysterical and another collapses.

Police, ambulance, rescue squad, fire departments, air evac helicopters, the coroner, and parents arrive at the scene. Using the jaws of life, rescue workers freed trapped and injured students, taking the most critical by helicopter and others by ambulance. Two students were taken by hearse in front of grieving parents. One student who failed a field sobriety test was taken into police custody for driving under the influence.

The accident was crafted by Cowden Police Chief Ryan Scott.

"This is the first time this has been done here. The one thing I want to push more than anything is preventative maintenance. If by showing them (students) this, I can prevent a bad choice, it's worth it," Scott said.

Scott said he had witnessed other mock accidents and decided this was something he want to do for the Cowden-Herrick students. He enlisted the help of the school's drama club.

"They did their own research into the injuries and did their own makeup. They did an excellent job," Scott said.

Chief deputy coroner Brad Phegley also commended the planning into the scenario.

"Unfortunately, I've seen too many of these scenes," Phegley said.

But the students were not the only ones who learned from the demonstration. The rescue workers who volunteered also got a little extra training.

"They were only given the scene they would come upon. They didn't know anything else. They had to access as any other accident scene," Scott said. "Not only was it a good scenario for the kids, it was good training for us."

Assisting in the mock accident were Shelby County Rescue, Cowden First Responders, Cowden Fire, Pana Ambulance, Cowden Police, Tower Hill Fire Department and ARCH Air Evac.

Actors were Ashley Gilbertson, Alicia Hadley, Kody Durbin, Kera Howland, Jensyn Morrison, Dylan Barnes, Cassie Marts, Chloe Meek, Jenna Hopkins, and Kane Burks. Make-up artist was Chris Howland.

More photos from the mock accident can be seen in the photo section.