Seniors at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School were met with a startling scene outside of the school’s main entrance on the morning of Wednesday, April 3. Amid two wrecked cars and broken glass, one of their own classmates kneeled on the parking lot pavement beside the motionless body of his prom date. As he called out for help, two of his fellow seniors lay silently a few feet away, trapped inside one of the crashed vehicles.
Staged by the Franklin Police Department, Franklin Fire Department, Tri-County medical careers students, postsecondary cosmetology students and Tri-County’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter, last week’s simulated car crash scene was held to raise students’ awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Tri-County Medical Careers instructor, Anne Marie Guanci, initiated planning for the staged crash scene with her medical careers seniors in conjunction with the Franklin Police and Fire Departments.
“Through the tremendous efforts of Mrs. Guanci, her senior medical careers students and the Franklin Fire and Police Departments, we were able to provide a powerful reminder to our students about the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Because our own students were the actors in the simulation, the impact was even more profound,” said Tri-County career technical coordinator, Jean George.
Tri-County superintendent-director Stephen Dockray agreed.
“This was an important scene for students to see unfolding right before their eyes. This method presents the dangers and consequences of drunk driving in a particularly moving way,” he said.
Tri-County administrators now hope to continue with this program annually.
The morning of the staging, members of the senior class assembled outside of the school and watched the events of the simulated crash scene unfold. Two wrecked vehicles, appearing to have collided head on, sat in the school parking lot. As a speaker system played recordings of 911 phone calls reporting the accident, the student cast as the drunk driver, Dan Todd of Franklin, attempted to revive his passenger, Haley Drake of Franklin, who lay lifeless on the ground. He then discovered his classmates, Seamus Geehan and Keara DeRose of N. Attleboro, unconscious and trapped inside of the van he had struck. Moments later, three police cars, a fire truck and an ambulance arrived at the scene, performed emergency rescue procedures on the victims and administered a sobriety test to the drunk driver.
At the close of the scene, the tragic consequences of the drunk driver’s actions were apparent; two injured students whisked away in an ambulance, one student handcuffed and arrested for drunk driving and one student, covered by a white sheet, pronounced deceased at the scene.
Following the accident simulation, seniors attended an assembly program that provided them with factual information about drinking and driving. In the weeks leading up to the assembly, Tri-County medical careers seniors conducted a school wide survey among juniors and seniors. Their questions gathered statistics about the number of students who drank and drove, who would get into a car with a drunk driver, and who would call their parents if they needed a ride home because they were drunk. Students analyzed the results of the survey and presented their findings to their fellow seniors during the assembly. At the close of the program, each member of the senior class was given a safe driving contract to sign and share with their parents.
The accident scene and the assembly left a powerful impression on the senior class.
“It was a good experience to go through because it really shows that this can happen to anyone. One bad decision can mean that you lose your best friend,” said Tri-County senior Bridget McHugh of Medway.
Tri-County RVTHS thanked the following organizations, faculty and students for helping to make the accident simulation possible: Franklin Police Department; Franklin Fire Department; Tri-County medical careers instructor Ann Marie Guanci; Tri-County English and music teacher Mr. Seth Curran; Tri-County technology assistant Deb Boudreau; the Tri-County medical careers senior class, including Haley Drake, Andrew Hall and Aleana Kilcullen of Franklin, Jane Wambui of Attleboro, Ashley McLean of Bellingham and Britney Boyle, Ashley Cornelio, Keara DeRose, Brady Rogers, Brittany Sheroff and Caitlin Willette of North Attleboro; Tri-County Class of 2013 president and construction craft laborer senior Dan Todd of Franklin; culinary arts senior Seamus Geehan of North Attleboro; Tri-County SADD president and early childhood careers senior Johanna Leazott; Tri-County postsecondary cosmetology students Beth Boronski of Attleboro, Samantha O’Toole of Medway, Taylor Blake of Norfolk, Brooke Calloway of Norton, Brianna Barney, Ann Marie Diaz, Hannah Fornara, and Deanna Fournier of North Attleboro, Susan Faria of Seekonk, Molly Landman of Sharon, Allison Clinton of Walpole, and Jaime Cullity and Elissa Peterson of Wrentham.