The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

Mock DUI crash impacts Daniel Boone community and students


By ethiel@berksmontnews.com">Emily Thiel, News editorethiel@berksmontnews.com

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Two cars crashed in a head-on collision on Water St. in Birdsboro Tuesday night, due to intoxicated teenagers on their way back from prom. The car crash was staged, but the impact of the annual mock D.U.I. accident deeply resonated within the Daniel Boone community. As a way to prevent teens from drinking and driving on prom night, Daniel Boone High School took the reigns in demonstrating a D.U.I. crash Tuesday night.
The scene opened as the community and students of the school witness the mother banging from the inside of her car window, bloody and scared, worried about her children and trying to get out of the vehicle. A drunk teenager emerged from behind the wheel of the pick-up truck that caused the crash, confused by what had happened. The pick-up truck was filled with three intoxicated teenagers; the car they “hit” was carrying a family of four: mother, father and two young children in the backseat. A bystander called 9-1-1 and, within minutes, the quiet neighborhood was filled with the sirens and flashing lights from the fire department trucks, Pennsylvania State Police cars and ambulances. The fire departments of Birdsboro Union, Monarch and Amity were all present at the simulated accident.
“We’re doing it to show that this can happen,” said Chelsea Saylor, with the Birdsboro Fire Department.
Daniel Boone High School’s club of Student Against Destructive Decisions coordinated the event under supervision from teacher Christopher Hartman.
“The first half was really upsetting,” said Victor Frederick, a substitute teacher at Daniel Boone. Frederick played the father in the car that was hit, a fatal accident for him and the two teenage passengers in the pick-up truck. “I want kids to know how real it is. I kept thinking about what would happen if this was me ”
Frederick said it was “scary” when he had to sit motionless as the vehicle was getting ripped apart as the fire department, who sawed off the top of the car to remove Frederick’s body.
“What’s so powerful is that the family suffered, too,” Frederick stated.
Autumn Wagner, a junior at DBHS, acted as the drunk driver of the pick-up truck with passengers and fellow students Brandon Kramer and Kayla Bunting, who were carried away by the coroner in body bags. While it may have been a fake crash, the emotions were real. “It’s intense, especially when it’s your friends,” said student and S.A.D.D. member Julie Miranto.
“It just hits you,” Wagner said after the demonstration was over, “Drunk driving is not okay.” Wagner, who was covered in fake blood, was interrogated and arrested by PA State Trooper David C. Beohm.
“It’s different when you see it on T.V., when you see people that you know, it changes your perspective,” explained Harlan Swavely, with the Birdsboro Fire Department, who wants awareness in the chance people take by drinking and driving.
Elaina Schilling, President of S.A.D.D., Sarah Scheuring and Jenna Honigfeld watched as the aftermath of the accident unfolded. “I’ve never seen an accident,” said Scheuring, who emotionally felt the impact of the mock crash.
“ that kids need to pay attention and not drink and drive,” said Jennifer Grill, of Birdsboro, who was brought out of her apartment by the sirens and flashing lights. Grill said the surrounding neighborhoods of Water St. received a letter to give them notice about the dramatic event.
“I think it went very well. This was the first year it was off campus,” said student Dario Ginella, “The impact is going to be a lot heavier because it’s a different area, off campus. We’re a video; the director is phenomenal. We’re showing the students, don’t make dumb decisions.”
“It’s a good wake up call that some people do need,” Jenna Honigfeld stated.
“I’m hoping it will save a couple lives,” said student Michael Benedetto, “We want to change what people do. Don’t drink and drive...period.”