Mock accident teaches Dexter students some real-life lessons
DEXTER — Two cars with teenage drivers behind the wheel and peers in the passenger seats collided head-on. Soon emergency responders were on scene as family members of those in the accident arrived, seeing the horrific scene and fearing the worst about their loved ones.
The crash was staged but the lessons were real as Dexter Regional High School hosted the Every 15 Minutes program on the afternoon of May 21, taking place during National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week which ran May 19-25. The national program — named for how often someone dies in an alcohol-related crash in the U.S. — is designed to remind all of the dangers associated with driving while impaired as well as the risks of texting behind the wheel and taking one’s attention off the road.
The mock head-on collision between a Ford Taurus SE and a Ford Fusion was set up on the closed Pine Street by the entrance to the Tri-County Technical Center and across from the athletic field. At 12:55 p.m. a call went out over the emergency channel as the Dexter student body came outside to watch everything unfold. They could hear sirens in the distance and the sounds got closer with a pair of Dexter Police Department vehicles pulling up on scene.
Officers declared one student in the Ford Taurus SE dead, as a white sheet was placed over him. The second student in the vehicle was also declared dead. Later in the program Crosby & Neal Funeral Homes staff arrived to transport the two away, but not before the family members were permitted to come close to the wreckage to see for themselves.
A pair of Dexter Fire Department trucks arrived on Pine Street, followed soon after by four Mayo Regional Hospital EMS ambulances. Firefighters got out the JAWS of Life to remove the passenger side door from the Ford Fusion in order to make an extraction. EMS personnel used a stretcher to place one passenger in an ambulance as the other two also left via the emergency vehicles.
The driver took a sobriety test administered by Dexter Police. Upon failing, she was handcuffed and placed in the back of a department SUV. With alcohol bottles placed atop the Ford Fusion, a drug-sniffing dog found contraband inside the vehicle.
The students then headed back inside the building, breaking up by grade levels to discuss the impact of what they had just witnessed and to think about what they can do to keep themselves safe.
The accident was only part of Every 15 Minutes, with a mock funeral for the crash victims taking place the next morning.
During the day on May 21 a student portraying the Grim Reaper called other selected pupils out of class, with one being removed every 15 minutes. This signifies the timeline of when someone dies in an alcohol-related crash as a prepared obituary was then read aloud — the obituaries and photographs of the students were on display in the cafeteria
Shortly thereafter the student came back to class as the “living dead,” wearing white make-up on their faces and being unable to speak. Theses students gathered in a separate group for the mock accident.