Emergency Vehicles screamed into the stadium at Chattooga High School Wednesday afternoon after they were dispatched over the stadium’s loud speaker. The CHS student body, along with all CHS faculty and staff gathered to watch a re-enactment of a fatal vehicle accident involving a drunk teen driver and another car filled with teens. The teen actors were CHS seniors and the emergency personnel were local law enforcement, paramedics, fire fighters, and other volunteers associated with these agencies. The life force helicopter from Erlanger Medical Center also flew in and landed on the football field where they loaded one of the ‘victims’ to rush to the hospital.
The exercise, which lasted around an hour, was performed to raise awareness about the realities associated with drinking and driving.The event was scheduled this week in hopes that the scenes would be fresh in the student’s minds because the prom is this Saturday. The scene played out from beginning to end with the drunk driver and passenger being sobriety tested, handcuffed and put into the back a police car. Meanwhile, a scene in the middle of the track exposed emergency officials using the jaws of life cutting tools to remove the roof from one of the cars and rescuing an injured passenger. As this was going on, another injured passenger was being treated by Paramedics/EMT’s from the Chattooga County Ambulance Service. This victim was loaded into the Life Force helicopter. Another passenger in the car was covered with a white sheet by the coroner who arrived on the scene. The deceased student’s parents rushed to the scene and could be seen and heard sobbing and screaming for their lost child. The last scene from the mock accident included a hearse from Mason Funeral Home and workers loading the body of the student who was ‘fatally injured.’
Even though the events from the afternoon were not real, emotions felt by everyone who took part in the re-enactment were. The scene was very surreal and eye opening. CHS principal Morgan Nugent spoke to students after the event and urged them to be careful behind the wheels of their cars. Sheriff John Everett also spoke to students encouraging them to drive safely and telling them that the last thing any of us want to do is make a phone call to parents informing them of the death of their child. Both Everett and Nugent warned students about the dangers of driving under the influence of any illegal substance and also about the dangers of being distracted by cell phones while driving. They urged students to concentrate on driving and driving only when they are behind the wheel, and reminded them that they are responsible for everyone’s safety when they are behind the wheel. Mr. Nugent, Sherriff Everett, the Summerville Police Department, The Chattooga County Sherriff’s Department, The Chattooga County Ambulance Service, Chattooga County 911, Erlanger Life Force, the Summerville Fire Department, and all other volunteers involved are to be thanked and commended for their efforts in putting this re-enactment together.