Students play out drunk driving crash from start to deadly finish

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 15, 2003

NORTHWOOD, Iowa &045; Putting on a display of the grief, anger and shock of an accident caused by drinking and driving, volunteers from four different emergency reponse agencies Wednesday helped stage performance demonstrating what an accident does to the driver, the victims and the families of each.

&uot;It’s spring, it’s graduation, it’s prom time,&uot; Marty Martin, the coordinator of the event, said. &uot;Young people are ready to be out and about and go to parties.&uot;

Martin, the Emergency Response Coordinator for Worth County, said it was the first time that his office had worked with Northwood-Kensett to put on the event. A coordination between Northwood police, the Worth County Sheriff, the Northwood Fire Department and a Mason City ambulance service made a realistic accident scene possible.

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&uot;We just want to get the message into their heads about the dangers of drinking and driving,&uot; he said.

As he spoke, firefighters used the &uot;Jaws of Life&uot; to cut open the roof of one of the cars involved in the accident.

Four students volunteered to act in the staged accident. In it, two cars had collided, each with two people inside. The drunk driver had flipped over another car, one girl lay dead in the street and the other girl from that car screamed dramatically about her friend.

The drunk driver was the only one able to walk after the accident. He seemed dazed and confused. His passenger remained inside of the car; she later perished.

The scene was shockingly realistic. The display continued, following different effects of the accident. The emergency room, the parents’ grief, the booking and the funeral all were acted out.

Students also heard from a real-life victim of a collision with a drunken driver and from state troopers on the dangers of drinking and driving.

Keith Fritz, principal at the Northwood-Kensett High School, said the performance had an effect on the students.

&uot;Some were affected pretty seriously emotionally,&uot; he said. &uot;One student had to come to the office to recompose.&uot;

Fritz said he was pleased with how the performance came off and how the students responded. He said he hopes the school can have something similar every few years.

&uot;I hope this gets these kids thinking during this week of graduation,&uot; he said. &uot;Like most high schools everywhere there will likely be drinking that goes on. I hope this has an effect.&uot;