(Posted Oct. 1, 2019)
By Pat Donahue, Messenger staffer
London High School students witnessed a fatal crash during school on Sept. 26. Fortunately, it was not an actual crash but a mock crash staged by the West Jefferson post of the Ohio Highway Patrol in cooperation with other area first responders.
The mock crash was set up to depict what could happen when a distracted driver fails to control his or her vehicle, goes left of center and collides with another car. In the mock scenario, the driver’s friend is catapulted through the windshield and loses her life. The driver of the oncoming vehicle also dies. The driver at fault sustains serious injuries and is transported by medical helicopter to a hospital.
Students saw what such an accident scene would look like. They also witnessed paramedics demonstrating an extraction from a wrecked vehicle and a medical helicopter taking off with a victim on board.
Students were invited to surround the crash scene as Trooper Jason Hofmann presented them with statistics and facts regarding seat belt use, distracted driving, impaired driving, traffic violations and laws, and crash injuries and fatalities.
Students participated in a test to see how long it takes to send a short text and learned how far a vehicle travels in that amount of time. They also were invited to use a distracted driving simulator and experience sobriety test procedures while wearing “drunk goggles.”
In addition to the Highway Patrol, entities taking part in the mock crash included Survival Flight, London Fire & EMS, the Madison County Emergency Management Agency, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, London Police Department, Barker’s Towing, and Madison County Public Health/Safe Communities.
The Patrol hopes to coordinate another mock crash at prom time.