Mock DUI crash simulated at Grand Junction High School

Firefighters removed a victim from a simulated DUI crash Friday as Grand Junction High School students watched from the sidewalk.

Just one day prior to prom night at Grand Junction High School, the students were given an intense reminder of what the consequences could be for those who choose to drink and drive.

A number of community agencies came together to stage a mock alcohol-related car crash, which included members of the Grand Junction Police and Fire Departments, School District 51 and St. Mary’s Flight For Life.

The two-hour program began with a video scenario in the auditorium, which showed some GJHS students drinking heavily at an after-prom party.

More than 1,800 students then filed out to Tiger Avenue to see firsthand what happened to the students in the video who decided to drink and drive.

Guest speaker Corey Hafey, principal of Taylor Elementary School, addressed the students on the south lawn of the school. He told a very personal story about his high school friend who died after drinking and driving.

Hafey told the students to make a plan prior to tomorrow night’s prom. Designate a driver if you have to, he said. “Take away the keys and threaten to call their parents. And if they still won’t give you the keys, then kick their ass if you have to,” he said.

“You won’t have any regrets to live with,” Hafey said, after telling the students that he did not do anything to stop his friend from driving drunk — something he says he regrets bitterly to this day.

His speech was followed by the loud pop of explosives, meant to simulate the sound of two cars crashing. Police removed a large tarp that was covering two wrecked cars with bloodied actors still inside.

Students then witnessed firefighters using the jaws of life to pry open one of the cars. The victims were removed, some covered with blood, and one not moving at all.

“It was really intense,” said student Jamie Derneux.

Emergency personnel tried to keep the scenario as close to a real-life situation as possible, said Kate Porras, information coordinator for the Grand Junction Police Department.

So real in fact that the St. Mary’s helicopter was dispatched to the scene and landed on the lawn of Martin’s Mortuary. A hearse from the mortuary arrived to transport the “dead” victim to the funeral home.

“Junction High School’s prom is tomorrow and we want those students who may be tempted to drink at parties to keep what they see here today in mind,” Porras said.

The students then went back into the auditorium where the driver of the vehicle was sentenced in a simulated trial, and a mock funeral took place for the dead boy.

“I think this was good to have it right before prom because it was really realistic and there are a lot of parties,” said Sabrina Trujillo.

Porras said that getting the message across to students about not drinking and driving was more than worth effort of the mock car crash. “This message is very serious and important,” she said.



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