Officials stage mock disaster

Editor’s Note: The Inter-Mountain normally would not publish graphic photos from an accident scene. However, in the case of the mock drill at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, no one was injured. Therefore, the value of showing young people the potentially fatal consequences of drinking and driving led to our decision to publish these images.

Students at Buckhannon-Upshur High School received a firsthand look Thursday afternoon at the consequences of drinking and driving during a mock disaster drill just days before the annual prom.

Members of the school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions teamed up with emergency responders to stage the events surrounding a car crash, and what can happen in the aftermath.

A simulated two-car crash caused by a drunk teenage driver resulted in a fatality, as well as two students being seriously injured. One student was taken from the scene in an ambulance, while another was transported by medical helicopter from the crash. Other victims suffered minor injuries, while the drunk driver was taken away from the scene in handcuffs and charged with driving under the influence.

This is the first year Buckhannon-Upshur has staged such an event for the students, said SADD advisor Vickey Casto. She said the school was contacted by a local medical helicopter service, which had staged a similar scene at another school, about hosting one in Buckhannon. Casto said the SADD group agreed to provide the actors for the scene if the local first responders would agree to do their part.

“All week long, we have been doing public service announcements by SADD about not doing drugs or drinking and driving,” Casto said.

The SADD group also set up a table in the school, asking students to sign the Prom Promise. In that agreement, students promise not to get involved with drugs or alcohol during the prom season. Buckhannon-Upshur High School will host its annual prom on Saturday.

“This drill is the culmination of the whole week leading up to the prom,” Casto said.

Some of the students taking part in the drill included Lizzy Edwards, who played the drunk driver; Shelby Williams, who played the teen who died; and Sebastian Reger, Megan Russell, Ashlea White and Heather Phillips, who played other students with varying degrees of injuries.