PHOENIX - Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. In fact, between 5,000 and 6,000 teenagers were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. in the past year alone and every year for the past decade.
Phoenix responders recently created a mock alcohol-involved crash designed to educate teens about impaired driving.
Phoenix firefighters and police officers staged a dramatic mock car crash at South Mountain High School.
“I was the victim that was stuck in the driver’s seat of the crash car,” said Lastaisa Westbrook, one of the mock victims.
The life-like experience showed the importance of safe driving behaviors and the consequences of drinking and driving.
“It was really scary as well,” said Jorge Morataya, another participant. “It happens a lot, so I tried to put as much emotion as I could into it.”
In the reenactment, responders extricated injured victims from vehicles and demonstrated the DUI testing and arrest process.
“I learned that the handcuffs really hurt, yeah, and they take everything seriously, and there’s no time for error,” said Morataya.
Then the Maricopa County Medical Examiner bagged and transported the body of a teen girl.
“The audience learned that it’s not a joke to drink and drive,” said Jessica Quintero, another mock victim. “You only have one life.”
“I tried not to cry when I was doing CPR for her,” said Morataya. “You see how much time it takes to save someone’s life and then they’re already dead at the end, so it’s honestly really scary.”
“For me, having worked in education for 21 years now, I’ve lost kids at schools I’ve been at, and it definitely hits home,” said Brian Guliford, principal.
Everyone who took part in this did so hoping to reduce the number of fatalities first responders are called out to.
“Anytime we can re-enforce that message of safety, it’s worth doing,” said Guliford.
Students came away with a new perspective.
“It was a great experience, because I honestly wouldn’t want to go through that personally. So, yeah, it was an eye opener,” said Westbrook.