First responders stage distracted driving collision | Garrett Clipper

GARRETT — On the eve of Garrett High School’s prom, local first responders held a drill illustrating the aftermath of a motor vehicle collision involving a distracted driver on Friday afternoon.

Members of the Garrett Fire and Police Department, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, Parkview Health EMS, DeKalb County Coroner, Jeff’s Towing, Thomas Funeral Home, and student/teacher volunteers demonstrated a fake accident in the Garrett Middle School parking lot for juniors and seniors.

The storyline was a father driving a car with his son in the back seat, who was hit head-on by a distracted teenage driver in a small SUV with three teenage passengers trapped inside the vehicle.

After firefighters removed the SUV’s doors and windshield, emergency responders helped treat injuries while the distracted driver performed and failed a field sobriety test. He was taken by the police in handcuffs from the scene.

The father, played by GKB maintenance supervisor Mike Shenkel, was pronounced “dead” and removed from the scene by the coroner. Her son was taken by EMS to a local hospital with the three teenagers in the SUV with life-threatening injuries.

Garrett Police Capt. Craig Pepple said the exercise was organized to provide students with insight into what happens when you practice distracted driving, not just with alcohol or drugs, but when you are tired or using phones and radio.

Student volunteers shared their reactions to their participation in the exhibition.

Taylor Gerke was surprised at how loud the Jaws of Life sounded as firefighters cut through the door to pull them out of the wreckage. Emma Welbaum and Carson Harter were surprised by the amount of glass that flew everywhere when removing the windshield, even though it was covered in leaves.

Trey Richards, who portrayed the distracted driver, found the whole storyline chilling.

“I felt pretty bad for killing people. It wasn’t fun to see people getting out of a car and then handcuffing me,” he said.

While the performance showed rescue workers at the scene, Sheriff Dave Cserep said what was missing was the screams, screams and the sight of loved ones arriving at the scene, a sight both he and Pepple said that you would never get over it.

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