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Shattered Lives, Dreams, and Hopes

At 12:28 p.m., West Central High School received a message over the intercom.

(Note: the following is a mock exercise by a group of students to raise awareness for drunk driving). 

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“>911 Call from Mock Drunk Driving Accident at West Central High School

Students gathered their coats and walked outside on a blustery day to find one classmate killed, and several others injured from a drunk driving accident. Seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshman found their friends in two mangled cars screaming for help.

Photo Via Sam Tastad/ESPN 99.1
Photo Via Sam Tastad/ESPN 99.1

In a tan minivan, the driver was found face first on the steering wheel with his arm out of the window, and blood on the crumbled driver’s door. The driver was killed, and was taken in a body bag from the scene of the accident. Passengers in the minivan were crying out as they waited for fire trucks, ambulances and police officers.

The drunk driver was driving a white four-door car, and his passenger in the front seat had to be taken out on a stretcher.

Photo via Sam Tastad/ESPN 99.1
Photo via Sam Tastad/ESPN 99.1

 

After watching their friends suffer from a fatal accident, students gathered inside for a mock court and funeral.

Senior Cole Tirrel played the drunk driver, and was taken from the scene, handcuffed, and stuffed inside a police car. Junior Dean Knuth was killed in the mock accident.

He left behind his parents, two sisters, and his girlfriend.

Seniors Makenna McDonald, Madison Kuehl and Alex Voight, and junior Rachel Schartz were passengers in the two vehicles.

The day was concluded with a speaker from Madison, who was a paraplegic that was in a drunk driving accident a few years ago. He spoke about surviving his own accident.**

Two students, sophomores Miranda Sundermann, and Bailey Meadors organized this event after their advisors told them about an idea they had from a different school.

“We just kind of took the idea and ran with it,” says Meadors. “We were like okay, let’s do it, and then, I guess it happened,” adds Sundermann.

Sundermann and Meadors are both in Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), and did this for the organization and a contest that will take place at the end of April. They have to put on a community service event, and chose to raise awareness for drunk and distracted driving.

The sophomores created a ‘docudrama’ entitled “Shattered,” and have been working on this event for three months since December 1st. Sundermann and Meadors would like West Central’s students to be impacted, and to think about the consequences of drinking and driving.

“We’re hoping to bring out everyone’s emotions, and hopefully it will hit home and they will understand what it is actually like, and what is actually going to happen if this does happen to them,” shares Meadors.

After all, one accident could change a person’s life forever.

“Because ultimately, it’s going to be one of their classmates. They are going to know that person and be without that person. How is that going to affect them?,” tells Meadors.

Senior Sadie Swier was in the audience, and recalls hearing the 911 call.  She took to heart the reality of losing her closet friends and family.

“Definitely surprised, and then, the realization when you see that your friends, classmates, the people you play sports with, or do other things with. It’s pretty crazy.”

Senior Madison Kuehl was an actress in the accident. She sat in the back seat, and had been drinking. In the accident, she got her head hit on the windows, and played the part of a worried friend. Kuehl says she learned a lot, and hopes her friends, classmates, and other students will, too.

“It’s definitely an eye-opener. It’s never something that I have experienced before. So, I think it is really real, and cool. I think it will teach them, for sure, not to drink and drive. Not to drink at all; we are underage still.  I think even with texting and driving, it will really hit them hard.”

At West Central, two students have died in the past, and a survey done by Sundermann, and Meadors found 40 percent of drivers at the school don’t even wear their seatbelts.

“We’ve had students in the past lost at our school, and we don’t want anyone, and to experience that. As students it is difficult enough, and we don’t want a whole school to go through it. Our ultimate goal for this is to get kids to not be distracted driving drugged, or drinking while driving. Too many teens have died in car crashes, and we don’t want anyone’s family to go through the pain and loss of what a cell phone, drugs, or drinking can cause. It is something that can be prevented,” explains Meadors.

West Central’s prom is in two weeks, and with graduation on the horizon, this project tells a good message: make good decisions and choose to drive carefully.

“Be aware of your surroundings, don’t drink or drive, don’t be distracted, and wear your seatbelt,” says Sundermann.

West Central raised awareness for this cause, but it should also serve as a good reminder for everyone in school, whether middle, or high school, college, or even adults. Accidents can be prevented to protect lives, dreams, and hopes from being shattered.

Photo via Sam Tastad/ESPN 99.1
Photo via Sam Tastad/ESPN 99.1

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