Pequot Lakes students witness results of dangerous driving
Seniors and juniors were presented a mock crash on Thursday, April 27, before prom night
PEQUOT LAKES — Pequot Lakes High School juniors and seniors received a firsthand look at potential consequences of inattentive or irresponsible driving Thursday, April 27, as local police officers, firefighters and medical professionals staged a mock crash in the school parking lot ahead of prom night.
“I would say in a typical year, there are more accidents with students in the months of April and May,” Pequot Lakes High School Principal Aaron Nelson said. "A large part is because there are a lot of new drivers and a lot of the big school events — parties, graduations and that kind of thing. We want to emphasize that, because it's a pretty heavy message.”
After staging a two-vehicle crash with a few student volunteers, officials performed a number of lifesaving duties, including using the “jaws of life” to remove the roof and windshield of a vehicle and reach an injured passenger, as well as airlifting a victim via the North Memorial helicopter.
We would rather show them in a controlled setting how things pan out after the fact.
Officials present the mock crash every two years to students, usually a few days before prom.
“Obviously, prom brings on a lot of excitement and challenges,” Pequot Lakes police officer and school resource officer Sheri Fyle said. “Teenagers these days … a lot of them think they are invincible. Adults do it too, but teenagers specifically think they are really good at sending a snap or text or something, but all it takes is one split second.”
The presentation also included the police arresting and cuffing the responsible driver, ambulances and fire trucks speeding onto the scene and a re-creation of emergency services performed.
Kids are driving, obeying the rules and making good choices in large part.
“To be able to put an event on like this and show that if you were to crash, these could be the consequences of sending one last snap … We would rather show them in a controlled setting how things pan out after the fact,” Fyle said.
The presentation may be working as planned over the past few years, as school officials seem to experience very few major crashes involving teens, underage drinking or texting and driving.
“It seems like we have had a lot fewer of the accidents you hear about where you have several kids in the car and there are any injuries or student deaths,” Nelson said. “We have been very fortunate recently with that. Kids are driving, obeying the rules and making good choices in large part.”
But for local law enforcement and emergency service workers, preventing one such incident would make the whole thing worth it.
“If we can just change even just one teenager's actions of putting your phone down or not having that drink of alcohol, that's all that matters,” Fyle said. “Hopefully we saved one person's life.”
Dan Determan, sports writer/staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5879 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan .