School urges students not to drink and drive
The students were all smiles until witnessing a fatal car crash.
Just minutes after the panoramic senior class photo was taken, Park City High School students witnessed a simulated car crash caused by drunk driving that involved one death and a severe head injury.
In a scenario played out for students, a handful of friends piled into a car on graduation night after drinking several beers. Traveling eastbound on Kearns Boulevard, the driver lost control of the vehicle and got into a head-on collision with another car being driven by a mother who had her young daughter in the front seat.
Like a real crash, emergency personnel from the Park City police and Fire departments responded. A Trauma I helicopter also appeared on the scene to help administer medical attention.
For Parent Teacher Student Organization member Suze Werr, the morning was a success, "if we save one kid from getting behind the wheel (drunk) and thinking twice about it."
Werr said this was the fifth year Park City High School staged a crash, or a docudrama, for the students. The district, she said, was the first in the state to do it and since then many schools have followed suit.
Last Wednesday, North Summit High School staged a similar event.
After the driver was arrested, students left the accident site and reconvened at the Eccles Center where some of the actors involved with the crash spoke to seniors.
The driver of the vehicle was booked for vehicular homicide and told the audience that intentional or not, one could go to prison for 3 to 5 years for killing another person with a motor vehicle. He said the impact of the accident was losing scholarships and not being able to go on a mission.
An actress playing the mother of the deceased spoke about having to plan a funeral instead of her daughter’s future, followed by a slide presentation of the fictional deceased Miners cheerleader.
Many of the law enforcement who spoke honestly and said they had lost friends on their graduation night.
Senior Neko Papez, who watched the presentation, said it got a point across to students.
"It was interesting," he said.
Deb Melle, a parent who is involved in the organization of the event, told students that after graduation they will be embarking on a different path in their lives.
"Our message today is choose your path carefully and think before you drink and drive," she said.
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The Park City Police Department last week received reports of drivers struggling in a late-season snowstorm. The complaints were logged in various locations inside the city. The accidents did not appear to be serious.