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Mock crash gives students a sober lesson in safety
Law enforcement officers hoped to create a lasting mental image for Central Kitsap High School students this week — the image of a fellow student, Kimberly Robles, frantically dialing 911 in a bloodied prom dress, or Paige Serwold dead on arrival.
Of course, Robles never actually called 911 and Serwold was never in any danger. But the scene of first responders taking them through the harrowing motions of an alcohol-induced car crash is real enough to form a lasting image.
Robles and Serwold are both seniors at Central Kitsap. Along with a few others, they were recruited to play the roles of crash victims for a mock collision in front of their fellow students Tuesday.
For a mock crash, law enforcement agencies position two vehicles as though they just collided head-on. Student actors dressed in prom dresses and tuxedos, and covered in fake blood, act out a realistic sequence of post-crash events.
These events include mock-airlifting a student in critical condition, pronouncing two students dead on arrival and issuing a field sobriety test on a driver.
“When you actually see it, it really changes your view on things,” said sophomore Natalie McCracken.
Junior Jakob Hibbs said the visual of the mock crash reinforces the things the students have already been told.
“It brings it to life,” Hibbs said.
Marsha Masters was the community coordinator for the event. She works in the Target Zero program for the Sheriff’s Office and with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
She described the mock crash as a gift from law enforcement to the students — so the students can see what happens in a controlled setting instead of ever having to witness it in reality.
“They (Law enforcement and first responders) would rather do this 100 times than go out into the field and do a real crash scene,” Masters said.
Masters said three of the fatalities in Kitsap County this year have been alcohol related and two involved young people. Her hope is that Tuesday’s program will help keep those numbers from rising.
Central Kitsap counselor Randy Templeton said he has heard from a number of graduates who have told him the mock-up had a lasting effect on them.
“Many of them say it still impacts them as they make decisions,” Templeton said.
Even if the memory doesn’t stay with students for the rest of their lives, Masters said the event serves a purpose.
“At least for right now, the kids will remember,” she said.
This Saturday, when Central Kitsap students dress up and go to prom, Masters hopes the image of Robles and Serwold in their own bloodied gowns will make students think twice before drinking and driving.