Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
WHEELERSBURG — The twisted wreckage of a student’s car sat in the parking lot of Wheelersburg School on Friday, with three students inside feigning unconsciousness and covered in fake blood as rescue workers struggled to free survivors. The entire scenario, thankfully, was staged and unfolded before the eyes of high school students as a graphic warning about the dangers of drunk driving.
The mock crash was a demonstration for Wheelersburg High School’s Prom Promise, in advance of the school’s prom which was Friday night.
“It’s a chance for us to show the kids the scary part of what happens when someone makes a decision like drinking alcohol and getting behind the wheel of a car, and the impact that it has,” said Wheelersburg High School Principal Matthew McCorkle. “For most kids, they are kind of like, ‘wow,’ because they’ve never been around that.”
The storyline followed a student, played by senior Kelsey Allen, whom after prom was drunk and texting while driving when she crashed her vehicle with three friends inside. Students watched from across the parking lot as Porter Township Fire and ambulance services arrived, along with the Ohio State Highway Patrol and other emergency responders. Allen was shown being given a DUI test and placed under arrest by the Highway Patrol, as two of her passengers (seniors Brian Stires and Emily Pratt) died in the crash and the third passenger (senior Derek Moore) was rescued from the vehicle and flown away by emergency helicopter.
“I feel like it will kind of get people to think about their actions and what they do tonight at prom,” Allen said. “Obviously we’re too young to drink, and no one should. I think this will really open up people’s eyes and make them see the consequences.”
Wheelersburg senior Breanna Jordan appeared bothered by the scene as she watched with the rest of the students. Even harder to watch, one of the students in the mock crash was Jordan’s cousin.
“It kind of scared me to know that this could happen to me or my classmates I grew up with,” she said. “It was scary because people do it everyday, and prom is where people go out and do things they shouldn’t do.”
As the helicopter flew off with Moore, McCorkle said he hopes it made a real impression on the students.
“When they first walk out and hear all of the squad cars coming in, and then they see their friends hurt, I think that’s the part we look for to make a real impact,” he said. “I think they all understand there’s a huge consequence for their decisions, which is what we’re trying to get accomplished.”
At the end of the demonstration, all four crash victims returned home safely to their families — but the reality of these crashes far too often does not have a happy ending.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.