HANSON — Hanson Police and Fire Chiefs Michael Miksch and Jerome Thompson, Whitman Police and Fire Chiefs Timothy Hanlon and Timothy Grenno, and Whitman-Hanson Regional School District Superintendent Jeffrey Szymaniak report that first responders from each department took part in a mock car crash yesterday morning to educate students on the dangers of impaired driving ahead of the Whitman-Hanson Regional High School senior prom.
On Wednesday, April 28, police and fire crews “responded” to the scene of the crash, which was staged outside the high school while seniors looked on. Student actors played the roles of teens involved in the two-car crash during the aftermath of the incident, including one student taking a breathalyzer test and another being consoled after learning her fellow passenger had died in the crash.
Prior to the mock crash, students viewed a video produced by the school that showed a house party with six students. In the video, two students who had refrained from drinking try to convince four of their classmates who had been drinking not to get behind the wheel. Later that night, the two groups of students are involved in a motor vehicle crash, with one of the “sober” students losing their life.
The proceeding mock crash presentation showed what a similar crash could look like in the real world, including the arrest process. Following the presentation, students returned to the school for a discussion with first responders about what they witnessed, what the aftermath of a crash entails, what the specific laws are about impaired driving and underaged drinking, and more.
“This is a really beneficial and powerful event, and it’s great to see each of the four departments come together and assist the school with this,” said Hanson Deputy Police Chief Michael Casey. “Seeing something like this close-up with their own peers will hopefully leave a lasting impression on these students. Even if one or two students leave this event and it causes them to think twice before getting behind the wheel while impaired, that would make a difference. The students need to know that while this crash was staged, something like this can happen in a split second and the consequences can be deadly.”
Multiple local businesses, including McQuarrie Towing and Recovery of Hanson and MacKinnon Funeral Home of Whitman, assisted during the mock crash.
The annual mock crash presentation is held at the school leading up to the WHRHS senior prom, which this year is scheduled for Friday, May 7.