Mock fatal wreck hits home with Silver Stage students
Appeal Staff Writer
A mock fatal crash designed to warn students at Silver Stage High School about the dangers of drinking and driving was all too real to Amy Kramer.
The soft-spoken, petite junior was the real victim of a drunken driver – an incident that she said took the lives of two of her friends.
She was injured, but recovered, physically, if not emotionally.
“I’m still recovering, and seeing that just brings back all of it,” she said.
The event, called “Every 15 Minutes,” is part of a national program that reminds students that every 15 minutes someone dies because of a drunken driver.
The DUI-involved crash Kramer survived occurred in California two years ago.
Two of her friends were killed in the head-on collision when they went out to eat after a football game.
“My friend Lauren was hanging out the window, and my friend Max went out of the car,” she said.
She said they weren’t wearing seat belts, while she was trying to get hers on when the accident happened.
Kiley Woosley, Allison Thiesson and Kember Bryan, all members of Stand Tall, Don’t Fall, a group with an anti-substance-abuse message, produced the Silver Stage version of the program with the help of Lavurne Jeffreys of Central Lyon Youth Connections.
“We wanted people to get the point that this is not safe or funny,” she said. “The woman who died is called Grandma, because everyone loves her.”
A simulated head-on collision with students and staff portraying the blood-soaked dead and injured occurred near the football field, with firefighters having to cut them out of the vehicles.
The Central Lyon County Fire Department and the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office participated in the incident, along with Care Flight.
The firefighters did the same things they would have done had the wreck been real.
They cut the victims from the cars, covered up the dead, and stabilized and transported the victims to the helicopter.
Students were out on the field watching somberly as their friends and staff member, aide Debbie Jurczak, were cut from the wreckage. Jurczak was one of two who portrayed fatalities.
Sheriff’s deputies did the same with Mason Hassler, a senior who was the drunken driver, though not seriously injured.
He was given a Breathalyzer test, handcuffed and shackled, and taken away.
Later, at an assembly, juvenile probation officer Eric Smith told the students Hassler would be certified as an adult, drawing two-to-20 years for each count.
“Think about how much of your life you want to lose,” he told the students.
Hassler said the shackling hurt, but he was glad to be involved.
“It’s awful, but it’s a great experience because it teaches you not to drink and drive,” he said.
Hassler lost a friend recently to a collision on Highway 95, he said, though alcohol was not involved.
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