As prom and graduation approach, Nixa students get reminder of life-altering drinking and driving consequences

Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 6:38 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 17, 2023 at 6:41 PM CDT
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NIXA, Mo. (KY3) - Over 30 first responders descended on Nixa High School Monday afternoon from both the land-and-air.

But their presence was educational as opposed to a real emergency.

As juniors and seniors arrived in the south parking lot of the school they saw a mock crash scene and a 9-1-1 call that played over loudspeakers.

“I’m at the high school and there’s been a really bad wreck here,” a lady said in a phone call to the 9-1-1 operator. “I think somebody’s dead. Oh my God, can you please get somebody here?”

Over the next 45 minutes the high school students witnessed a realistic re-creation of a car crash scene where a drunk driver hit another car head-on.

Sirens screaming, Nixa police pulled up to the crash scene first followed by firefighters, ambulances, an air-evac helicopter from CoxHealth and a hearse to pick up a fatality victim.

The scene was powerful as fire fighters used the jaws of life to extract passengers from the cars, EMT’s frantically administered chest compressions to teenagers on stretchers and the helicopter landed to pick-up the most severely injured.

From the heavily-damaged cars to the blood-covered students who played the drivers and passengers, the re-creation was made to look as realistic as possible including screams of anguish and anger when the extent of the crash was realized.

Nixa juniors Illyria Bogner and Brianna Gonzalez played passengers who were in the same car as the drunk driver and were questioned by police as to where they had been before the crash.

They admitted that they had been to a party but told officers the driver had told them he was fine and able to drive.

“We were in the drunk driver’s car and we had the ability to say no to him and stop it but we didn’t,” said Bogner of the lesson to be learned from their angle. “That stuff happens after prom and graduation and you can prevent it.”

“We get caught up in prom night and graduation because it’s supposed to be the moments we remember forever,” added Gonzalez. “But if you do something like this you’ll have to live with the consequences for the rest of your life.”

Charles Speake played the drunk driver and went through the same scenario that anyone suspected to be under the influence would experience.

He was given a series of physical tasks to perform and a breathalyzer test before being arrested, handcuffed and taken off in a police car.

“My mom was a prosecuting attorney for well over a decade,” Speake said. “If she gets a call one day saying her son got arrested for driving while intoxicated, I’m just wondering what my mom would think. She’s stated many times that she wouldn’t help me or my brother if we ever got in trouble because there have to be consequences for our actions.”

“I feel like the importance of these events is really vital,” added Luke Spain, the CoxHealth Injury Prevention Coordinator who puts on about 10 mock crashes per year in a 10-county area. “The goal is not to traumatize but to just have the students get to see firsthand what the consequences of poor decisions behind-the-wheel look like.”

As with any such attempts there will always be some in the crowd who don’t take the mock crashes seriously and the students who took part in the re-creation know that.

“It’s a huge fear of mine that people are going to be laughing at the drunk driver stumbling around or at all of us crying,” Gonzalez said. “But if it touches one person and saves one life then it will be worth it.”

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