May 20, 2015

Simulation demonstrates consequences of drunk driving

By Daniel Arens

A mock drunk driving simulation vividly displayed the very real repercussions of a decision to drink and drive.
The event was put on through the collaborative efforts of the Mercer County Ambulance Service, the Hazen Fire Department, and Sanford Health. Its focus was to reach students from the junior and senior high schools.
The outdoor event was held outside the Hazen Middle School beginning at 1 p.m. Four high school students took part in the simulation, acting out the role of drunk driver and car crash victims.
Kaleb Weir is a senior who acted in the simulation, portraying one of the students who died. His mother, Debbie Weir, was one of the first responders who came to the crash site. Her reaction to her son’s simulated death was perhaps the most powerful and memorable aspects of the day.
Bethany Goodwin, who was unconscious in the simulation, described the realness of the experience to her as the medical providers actually put a neck brace around her and placed her on a stretcher. She spoke about the importance of the small choices that she or anyone else could have made at any given point that could have altered the events portrayed in the mock crash.
Connor Doll, another senior who portrayed the drunk driver in the simulation, emphasized the rawness of the simulation and the impact this realism would have on students, pointing specifically to Debbie Weir’s reaction. He also stressed the importance of kids not being afraid to call someone for help when in a dangerous position. Their safety is the first priority for adults, and kids who find themselves in these kinds of situations should place their safety and that of their friends ahead of fears of punishment.
All of the student actors and actresses were given the roles they would play only a couple of weeks in advance. There was no script, and they improvised the parts on the day of the event. Doll had the most acting to do, as the other students in the simulation were either dead or unconscious.
In the high school theater after the outdoors event, Matthew Lemasters, Joe Barbot, and Debbie Weir addressed the students to talk about the personal repercussions of drunk driving.
Lemasters was hit by a drunk driver near Pick City and, due to the injuries he sustained, he now uses a cane to walk. He spoke about how difficult it can be to do even ordinary things, and how the choice of drinking and driving is not a choice worth making.


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