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Mock car crash teaches dangers of drunk, distracted driving

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

SIMULATION: Students in the RCS SADD Club recently put on a skit of a mock car crash to show their peers the dangers of drunk and distracted driving. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

RAVENA-COEYMANS-SELKIRK — The parking lot at RCS High School recently was the scene of a mock car crash with a clear message to students on the eve of prom — don’t drink and drive, don’t text and don’t drive distracted.

Members of the SADD Club — Students Against Destructive Decisions — teamed up with first responders from the Ravena Rescue Squad, Ravena Fire Department and Albany County Sheriff’s Office, along with Babcock Funeral Home, for a firsthand look at what can happen as a result of poor decision making.

“We are doing this around prom time in order to raise awareness among the kids about safe driving,” said teacher and SADD Club advisor Matthew Miller. “It used to be about drinking, but now we are a little bit more worried about marijuana use and texting while driving, or distracted driving. This is an opportunity to make the kids aware of the reality of the things that can happen if they make certain decisions. It’s a pretty aggressive or dramatic event, which can be rough for some kids, but we want to make it clear to them that this is something that can happen.”

Students in the SADD Club and first responders performed a skit that involved a high-speed crash and rollover that left one student dead, several injured, and left the student driver — who failed a field sobriety test — in handcuffs.

All RCS juniors and seniors who had tickets to the prom were required to watch the simulation, which included emergency vehicles arriving on the scene, taking the “victims” away, and driving away with sirens blaring.

SIMULATION – Local first responders lent an air of reality to a simulation by the RCS SADD Club. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

Students watched as the “driver,” portrayed by senior Brady Engel, was sobriety tested and “arrested” as his “mother” ran onto the scene, screaming. Another student was extracted from the vehicle with the Jaws of Life and taken away in an ambulance. One of the passengers in the skit, seated in the front passenger seat, was thrown through the windshield because she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and was “dead” and taken away by the coroner.

The message for students watching the simulation was clear — use care when driving and don’t drink or use drugs when behind the wheel.

Miller urged students to heed the message of the simulation both at proms and all summer when they head out to parties.

“Please be smart when you are driving,” Miller said. “Use good decision-making skills. Call for help — parents will yell at you if you call them at 3 in the morning to come and pick you up, but they will be much more upset if they have to see you taken away in a hearse or in a police car. Be safe, be smart and make good decisions.”

Senior Brady Engel portrayed the driver in the simulation. Engel is also vice president of the SADD Club.

“I just want students to realize how detrimental this can be and to be smart and safe on the road,” Engel said. “That is what SADD is all about — making good choices.”

Sophomore Ana Ball portrayed the passenger who was thrown through the windshield. She wanted her fellow students to understand the dangers of unsafe and distracted driving.

“I think it is important to showcase what can happen,” Ball said. “This is very real.”

RCS School Resource Officer Brian Patti from the Albany County Sheriff’s Office said the simulation was stark and painful to watch so the message would come across to the students.

“We try to make it realistic because when they see their friends injured or possibly killed, it does hit home a little harder,” Patti said. “That was the message we wanted the kids to get.”

Ravena Fire Chief Kevin Phillips worked with his team on the simulation, extracting passengers portrayed in the skit using the Jaws of Life. He said the repercussions of distracted or drunk driving can last a lifetime.

“Everyone suffers when this happens,” Phillips said. “The whole family.”

Members of the RCS SADD Club with first responders after portraying the potential results of drunk or distracted driving in a mock car crash. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media
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