By Jenny Sharp, Captain, Lakewood Fire District 2
Lakewood – The twisted metal of two broken vehicles lay strewn over the roadway. The chaos and horror of tragedy is punctuated by screams of pain and desperation. It’s a grisly and gory scene that worsens as the emergency crews discover those involved in this crash are students from Lakes High School on their way home from Prom. The odor of alcohol is evident; empty beer cans lie on the ground beside their crushed car. The driver begs, desperately, for forgiveness from his friend as he is blamed for killing their good friend. Alcohol, lack of a seatbelt, inexperience and high speed add up to one person critically injured, one dead, one arrested, and many lives changed forever.
This is the scene that was created on the West Pierce Fire & Rescue Training Center Friday for the 2011 graduating class at Lakes High School. The graduating class wants not only their classmates, but everyone to know that crashes are preventable and the hope in hosting this assembly was to give students a taste of the reality of their choices. West Pierce Fire & Rescue, Lakewood Police, Lakewood Towing, Mountain View Funeral Home and teachers and students from Lakes High School created the most realistic scene possible.
Following the mock crash, West Pierce EMS Chief Bill Barber spoke to the students about the calls firefighters and police officers respond to every day with this same outcome. Later that afternoon, a mock memorial service was held for the “victim” of the crash. The hope of the agencies involved is that these students will take this message to heart and our community will not have to suffer the tragic loss of a son or daughter.
The intention of this activity was to increase awareness and encourage students at Lakes High School to make wise choices. Every year in America, students are killed or seriously injured as the result of a DUI related crash. Although drug use continues a downward trend among high school students, alcohol use remains the number one drug of choice. 15 – 20 year olds are the highest risk age group for dying in a car crash.
Remember: Every 32 minutes someone is the United States will die in an alcohol-related fatality. So, do your part to not become a statistic, DON’T DRINK & DRIVE.