Pulaski’s Mock DWI sent students in grades 9-12 a very real message on April 28: don’t drink and drive.
The Mock DWI program, done in cooperation with many agencies and offices in Oswego County, is held every other year at the school and timed to be just prior to the prom.
The accident scenario’s timing was intentional and served as a dramatic reminder of what can happen when a person chooses to either get behind the wheel of a car after drinking, or chooses to ride in a car when the driver has been drinking.
An added element to the accident scene was the fact that the driver of the car was texting on their phone as the accident occurred.
A very realistic accident scene greeted students as they filed out of the school into the south parking area.
Before them two vehicles were mangled while screams and cries of pain and shock were heard.
As students viewed the scene, a “victim” lay on the pavement, pale and motionless.
The “victim” Ruth Clark, was “killed” in the accident, while the other person in her overturned vehicle, Steven Maynard, screamed in pain and searched for his arm which had been severed during the crash.
In the second car, Hannah Potter, obviously intoxicated, was in shock at the scene.
Others in her car, Samantha Dawes, Jacob Nicholson, Annie Forestiere and Larry Halsey were in various stages of injury.
A 9-1-1 call went out and rescue and response vehicles began to arrive on the scene.
While the scenario was all staged, the message was painfully real.
Students watched as the victims were attended to by emergency response personnel, the “deceased” victim’s family members appeared on the scene and were restrained to keep them from disturbing the rescue operation and accident investigation.
The intoxicated driver was given a field sobriety test and subsequently arrested and taken away in a police car.
Rescue personnel continued to remove injured from the scene, police began taking evidence and investigating the accident.
Fire departments, ambulance crews, police and other first responders continued to work at the scene.
Later the coroner arrived and then a local funeral home arrived with its hearse to remove the body.
A narrator explained to the students what was happening at each stage of the accident response, before the scene moved inside the school to the auditorium where the scenario continued.
Robert Lighthall of Oswego County Stop DWI spoke to the students about the process of arraigning the driver on various charges and also showed a video by a family who lost their seven-year-old daughter when their vehicle was struck by a driver in New Jersey going the wrong way on the highway and who was three times the legal limit.
A victim impact volunteer from Oswego County Stop DWI shared her personal story about how many years ago she was the only survivor of a terrible accident where the driver of her vehicle was intoxicated and what she has lived with as a result.
To end the Mock DWI, a funeral was held for Ruth Clark, attended by the students.
As Pulaski High School’s principal reiterated the day’s message, he asked the students to come forward and pay their respects to the victim and her family.
The Mock DWI was a somber reminder to students to be safe and make good choices at prom and anytime.
Pulaski High School’s prom is scheduled for Saturday.