April 17, 2013

Prom Night is for dancing, not crashing

Submitted by Gordon Hospital

CALHOUN — Agencies from Calhoun and Gordon County emergency services banded together Tuesday, April 16, to send an important message to area high school seniors.

With the help of 14 Sonoraville High School seniors acting as “victims,” the agencies demonstrated their skills during a Prom Crash Reenactment held at SHS. The student actors were Chris Irving, Mercedes McBride, Jackson Murray, Cody Kuhn, Alex Cheeks, Javier Hernandez, DJ Hales, Payton Smith, Jennilee Gentry, Destiny Camp, Hannah Green, Madison Smith, Tori Ralston, and Miranda Northrup.

“Our objective is overall safe teen driving and awareness for not only the prom season, but a lifetime of good decisions behind the wheel,” explained Lt. EMT Doug Hite, coordinator of the Prom Crash Reenactment. “Seniors from Calhoun High School and Gordon Central High School were also bussed to the crash scene so that they could witness what could happen as a result of drunk driving.”

The scenario involved a two-car crash involving teenagers, alcohol, and texting while driving. One vehicle was driven by a drunk-driver, who was arrested at the scene. The crash also included critically-injured teens, who were airlifted from the scene, and a teen fatality.

“This is not something that we like to think about, but every year we hear of teens injured or killed in America because of drinking and driving or poor driving decisions,” said Courtney Taylor, director of Gordon EMS. “Anything we can do as emergency response agencies to keep kids safe is certainly worth the effort.”

In addition to the reenactment, the students also heard comments and advice from public safety officials, as well as from Leslie Deperro, whose son was disabled 10 years ago in a car accident involving several local teenagers.

Agencies involved in the reenactment included Gordon EMS, Gordon County Fire Department, Calhoun Fire Department, Gordon County Sheriff’s Office, Calhoun Police Department, Gordon County EMA, Gordon County 911, Georgia State Patrol, LifeForce, and Gordon County Deputy Coroner Bo Nicholson.

Organizers expressed their appreciation to the many agencies and volunteers behind the scenes, and to SHS officials for hosting the event.

“We’d also like to thank the voice talent of Jeff Grizzle, as well as Billy Reeves and Reeves Towing for supplying the vehicles and towing service for the event,” Taylor added. “We cannot thank everyone enough for the many hours of work and planning that goes into this event every year. Our prayer now is that this effort will prevent our teenagers from making wrong choices.”