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Ava High School Students Are Role Players In Mock Car Crash

Wreck victim, Jessica Burress, is strapped to a backboard by fire and rescue personnel.

It was a horrifying scene that left one student dead, another critically injured, and others hurt or in shock. The good thing is, it was make believe. The bad thing is, in reality it happens far too often.

The presentation, led by Mercy Injury Prevention Center and Ava High School included a mock car crash related to distracted driving. Several students from the school were selected to play the roles of the dead and injured victims.  Police (including the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Ava Police Department and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office), CoxHealth EMS and Ava Fire Department were summoned to the mock crash as the scene played out. Rescue crews performed their duties as they would in real life situations.  While it was all happening, the high school student body was viewing the crash scene.

Following the mock crash, Pam Holt, Trauma Prevention Coordinator from Mercy Hospital, led an assembly about driving behaviors, seatbelt use and the consequences of distracted driving.

 “As teens view the real life consequences of a motor vehicle crash the situation allows them to understand the traumatic injuries that can result from poor decision making,” said Holt.  “It also allows the teen to understand that the consequences of distracted driving affect more than just one person.”

This program coincides with the prom and graduation season, the deadliest time of year for teens on the roadway. Ava’s prom was held last Saturday night, just three days after students watched the trauma unfold.

Traffic crashes are up 30% from this time last year. Most of those fatalities occurred to non-belted occupants.  According to Holt, wearing a seatbelt is the single-most effective thing a person can do to prevent death or serious injury during a crash. “Last year, only 27% of the teens admitted to Mercy’s Level I Trauma Center in Springfield, due to a car crash were wearing a seatbelt.  Mercy is the largest, by volume, trauma center in Missouri.

“Death and serious injury that results from not wearing a seatbelt is 100 percent preventable.  Our hope, with this program is to save a life,” said Holt.