Mock crash impacts SW students

Thursday, April 22, 2010
The truth about drinking and driving Democrat Photo In the photo above, Charlie McManus, Barry County deputy coroner, examines Kayla Eagan's body during a docudrama held near Southwest High School on April 16. Eagan played a fatally injured crash victim. After examining the body, McManus placed Eagan in a body bag and transported her from the scene in a hearse.

A docudrama held on the Southwest R-V School District campus on April 16 showed many students how an alcohol-related automobile crash could change their lives.

On Friday, Southwest High School students filed out of the school to find five of their classmates, Doniel Leachman, Kayla Eagan, Marissa Fletcher, Samantha Beattie and Everette Kritz, in and around an automobile, which served as the focal point of the docudrama.

As the students examined their classmates, the wrecked vehicle and the empty beer cans and hard liquor bottles cluttering the area around the car, reactions varied from shock to amusement.

Students did their best to identify the students in the vehicle, but the mock scene and dramatic injuries made it difficult for the high schoolers to name each of the crash victims.

After all of the students had an opportunity to view the scene up close, the students were escorted a few feet away from the car. The docudrama unfolded as the driver, Leachman, and a backseat passenger, Fletcher, ran from the car and rushed to check on their friends.

"What did you do?" Fletcher screamed at Leachman. "You killed my friends. How could you have done this?"

"I'm so sorry," Leachman repeated again and again.

As the docudrama unfolded, students watched emergency medical personnel remove Beattie and Kritz from the crashed vehicle and load them into an ambulance. Fletcher, who sustained minor mock injuries, was also placed in the ambulance.

Eagan, was pronounced "dead" at the scene by Charlie McManus, Barry County deputy coroner, and was placed in a black body bag that was loaded into a hearse. Leachman was taken away in a Missouri State Highway Patrol vehicle.

The drama ended as emergency response teams left the scene of the mock crash. There were no smirks or even talking as teachers escorted students to the Southwest High School gym for a brief assembly.

"I kind of hope that we get through to these students what we do on a daily basis to keep them safe," said Amelia Boggs, Cox EMT (emergency medical technician), who helped organize the docudrama. "We do care about them, and we hope that we get through to some of them how dangerous drinking and driving is. We don't want to do this for real for one of them."

"When I was in high school I lost three very good friends to alcohol-related crashes in a matter of three months," said Donna Allen, Cox EMT and docudrama coordinator. "We want them to realize that not only is alcohol dangerous when combined with driving, but any distraction is dangerous, including having extra kids in your car or texting. Anything that makes them inattentive to driving can lead to this."

Organizations and individuals that participated in the docudrama event included: Washburn Fire and Rescue; Alisa Hall and Chris Reibert, of Cox Emergency Medical Services; John Lueckenhoff, of the Missouri State Highway Patrol; Jared Corn, of Barry County 911; McManus; and Boggs.

Wilson Towing donated the vehicle for the docudrama event, and Hilltop Package donated the alcohol that was dumped at the scene of the mock crash.

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