By Grace Moore
Earlier this week, FCCLA members Cheyenne DuBeau and Taylor Brayden enlisted the help of Moorcroft Fire, EMS, the municipal police department and Highway Patrol to create a mock vehicle accident that was as close to real as they could get.
“We wanted to do a mock accident because here in Wyoming we are the worst for distracted driving,” said DuBeau, explaining that the mock car accident is a star event supported by the Families Acting for Community Traffic Safety (FACTS).
Moorcroft Chief of Police Doug “Red” Lundborg started the event by talking to MHS students about distracted driving, saying that a distraction is not only texting, it can be anything that competes with a driver’s attention such as including eating, playing with the radio,
looking in the mirror for any other reason that to see what is behind the vehicle or turning their head to pay attention to someone in the passenger seat.
These are all distractions of perhaps seconds, but a matter of seconds is all that is needed to lose control of a life and death situation, he said, adding, “I have seen tremendous accidents and many of them are caused by distracted drivers.”
FCCLA advisor Darcy Sams talked about two of MHS’s own who have died in the last 12 years.
“We were on campus for lunch; three kids jumped into a pickup and decided that they were going to have a joyride during lunch. Volleyball was just startin
g and football was at 7 p.m.,” she recalled.
“They weren’t wearing their seatbelts and went around a corner too fast. One of our best football players was thrown from the pickup and killed on Homecoming Day.”
The second was the death of an eighth grade girl who had climbed over the back of the front seat of the car to change the radio channel and, when the driver attempted to shove her back, they lost control and the youngster died.
The chief then received a call from dispatch about an accident on Country Lane east of the high school, and thus began the demonstration.
The students walked onto a scene of a two vehicle accident with one pedestrian on the pavement. They had arrived before the medical first responders and watched as the kids in the cars begin to realize how hurt they and their friends seemed to be.
The pedestrian had been walking across the intersection of the south high school parking lot and Country Lane. The driver of the red car was texting as he came up to the stop sign and did not stop, hitting the pedestrian and subsequently the white car that was traveling along Country Lane.
There were three people in each vehicle, one of whom “died” while the other four were injured to varying degrees. The inattentive driver was arrested after watching his friends being carried away. The wrecked vehicles were provided by the Moorcroft Fire Department.
“We wanted to make it as realistic as it could possibly be, to make an impact,” said DuBeau, “You can see the kids here don’t wear their seatbelts, they text and drive, Snapchat or are on Facebook or whatever it is. We want them to realize that it doesn’t matter if you’re in a small town or not or even if you live in Wyoming, anything can happen.”
An interesting side note was the coordinated efforts of the fire, EMS, police and Highway Patrol that could be seen even in the mock accident. Everyone demonstrated their understanding of their role in the prioritized and safe rescue of the victims.
After the demonstration, everyone returned to the auditorium to listen to guests who have had to deal with the real aftermath of these unrecoverable moments due to a driver’s choice.