LOWER POTTSGROVE - Pottsgrove High School students witnessed a 'fatal DUI crash' on Friday, April 25 - the day before their prom - requiring police, fire trucks and a helicopter.
Although the crash was a mock accident, police officers warned students that the situation is very real and happens often. The mock crash involved two cars, many emergency responders and dead bodies.
'Even though it's a mock crash, that could be me or a friend of mine,' Lower Pottsgrove Police Officer William James said is how students should think of the accident.
The mock accident was orchestrated by several safety organizations including Lower, Upper and West Pottsgrove police departments as well as Goodwill ambulance personnel, the MedEvac medical helicopter and the Ringing Hill Fire Company of Lower Pottsgrove.
This event was used to 'emphasize the importance of safe driving for our students,' said Pottsgrove High School Principal William Ziegler.
He said it's prom season and unfortunately, sometimes students make bad decisions. He also said the mock accident shows the negative effects bad decisions can have on someone's life.
Students witnessed several bodies being covered with a white sheet which indicated the person was dead.
'It's really scary, honestly,' said Sydney Schollenberger, a senior at Pottsgrove High.
Schollenberger along with her friends, Kylie Yuchimiuk and Kacy Carroll, said they are going to prom on Saturday and the accident made them more aware of what could happen if you don't drive safely. They all three said it was surprising how long it took for responders to reach the scene.
Yuchimiuk, a senior, said the scariest thing she learned is the time it took to get people safely out of the car to be treated.
'They could be bleeding for up to 20 minutes,' she said.
The students also learned that a lot of work goes into responding to a car accident.
'There's a lot of details and drills they have to go through,' Carroll, a junior, said.
James, the school resource officer, said several students didn't realize the 'professionalism of police' before Friday's mock accident.
James with the help of several others, planned out the accident. He said teachers and the high school's SNAP Academy were involved in the setup of the mock crash. The SNAP Academy stands for Students Needs Assistance Program and their mission is to assist students with drug and alcohol abuse.
James said his main goal for the event was to warn students that they need to be careful while driving. He said this includes not drinking and driving or any other distractions such as texting.
'A lot of kids are going to get on the road…some kids think that it's time to party,' James said in reference to Saturday's prom.
He said in past years, he hasn't really seen car accidents in the area involving kids during prom season but that he wants to keep it that way.
James said a mock accident is performed every other year and that next year there will be a Survival 101 event that encourages safe driving and wearing seatbelts.
'We want our community to know Lower Pottsgrove in conjunction with the high school are trying to educate students, faculty and staff,' he said. 'We want to build a safe community in Lower Pottsgrove.'