Oak Harbor students simulate DUI accident

An Oak Harbor High School student pretends to be injured during a drunk driving vehicle accident simulation sponsored by Students Against Drunk Driving. - submitted
An Oak Harbor High School student pretends to be injured during a drunk driving vehicle accident simulation sponsored by Students Against Drunk Driving.
— image credit: submitted

Oak Harbor High School was the site of a mock-drunk driving car accident Friday, May 16.

The event, sponsored by Students Against Destructive Driving, otherwise known as SADD, was an education event about the dangers of driving while intoxicated, and it included the Oak Harbor Fire Department, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, Whidbey General Hospital and the Oak Harbor Police Department.

This accident was a staged rollover, and used actors with fake injuries created with makeup.

“We had one car here laying on its top,” said Sherri Brown, a lieutenant for North Whidbey Fire and a paramedic for the hospital, “and we had one gal laying out in front of all the kids with blood everywhere, and it was fake blood of course ... and then we had two girls in the car that had moulaged injuries and we had a driver staggering around, acting drunk.”

Brown said the students from the high school and very good actors. At the scene, the emergency service personnel treated it as much like a real accident scene as possible, while also making sure everything was visible to the students, she said.

“We’ve all been to calls like this, so we all kind of know exactly what, where everybody’s going to be,” she said.

This event is a regular event at the high school, according to the high school’s SADD club advisor Cynthia Allen. She said this is the fifth or sixth year it has been done.

“We feel it’s important to see the effects of drinking and driving,” Allen said.

She also said that SADD chooses an “education awareness opportunity” every month, and that this event is usually done around prom or graduation, because that’s when students are most likely to be in a situation that requires smart decisions about drinking and driving.

This year, the mock crash involved one fatality, two critically injured patients and a drunk driver, according to Brown. Emergency services “extricated them and attempted resuscitation on the patient that was deceased, with no success,” and the driver was arrested by the police and taken off-scene, so she could be taken to the hospital for necessary medical attention, then jailed.

“Parents are really grateful for it,” Brown said of the event, “and we’ve had reports back from kids who’ve told their parents about it, and then the kids are making good decisions when they do go out and party, about driving and stuff. So yeah, it’s a good event. It’s a good thing to do.”

Brown said this event is something to look forward to.

“It’s always fun to be a part of it, it’s always fun to do,” she said. She hopes the outcome is that kids who do go out and drink will be educated enough to make smart decisions about driving. Another benefit, sometimes, is in the career path of a student, who may decide “it would be cool to be a part of that, a part of that crew,” said Brown.

Looking forward to the event isn’t just limited to those involved in the scene, but to the students watching, as well, according to Allen.

“I had a lot of students thank me Friday,” she said. “They got pretty choked up over it, and it’s definitely very real. It’s very emotional.”

Allen said that some parents have given her feedback as well, saying “they’re definitely glad that their kids get to have that experience.”

“If we can get the message across to one person that won’t go out and drink and drive and cause a wreck,” Brown said, “we feel like we did a good job.”


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