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Prom-grad warning shown at high schools
When a student makes the choice to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, they put not only their own life at risk but the lives of those who make the mistake of getting into the vehicle with them.
On Thursday, teens from Yuma High School had the opportunity to witness a demonstration of a fatal alcohol-related crash, using student actors from the school's drama club, in an effort to remind students about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Operation Prom-Grad has been presented to youths in the community since 2004, said Mike Erfert, public information officer with the Yuma Fire Department. He noted that this is the second year the group has presented the demonstration to all five area high schools.
Participating agencies included YFD, Yuma Police Department, Rural/Metro Ambulance, Air Evac Services and the Medical Examiner's Office.
The YHS senior class watched the scene take place on their football field as a mangled vehicle, supplied by Dick's Auto Salvage, had one student trapped inside while another was ejected from the vehicle and a third managed to crawl out.
During the presentation, the driver, played by Felix Tutorow, 16, gets arrested for driving while under the influence and Jocelyn Rosas, 17, is flown out by Air Evac Services after being extracted from the vehicle.
Stephanie Alvarado, 17, was also in the vehicle before it crashed but was pronounced “dead” at the scene after being ejected from the car. During the demonstration, she was put into a body bag to be hauled off by personnel from the Medical Examiner's office.
Responding units treated the accident as if it were a genuine crash by rescuing the victims, treating the patients, investigating the scene of the crime and transporting the individuals.
Erfert said the event serves a strong purpose. “It's one thing to talk to kids about the dangers of drinking and driving, it's another to show them in real life what goes on.”
“This is as close as we can come to re-creating an actual DUI fatality and all of the emergency response that goes with it and a reminder that the decisions that they make can affect their lives, the lives of others and their whole community. We want them to make the right choice, it's their life and we want them to choose to live it.”
Erfert added that they aim to create a visual image they hope comes back to students before they risk driving impaired. He said they want students to prepare to make the right choice in critical, life-changing decisions.
This demonstration marks the second presentation after already being shown at Kofa High School. Emergency personnel and drama students from the respective schools will continue to recreate the scene at Yuma Catholic, Cibola and Gila Ridge high schools within the coming weeks.
Although the event is not open to the public, the community should be aware of the following dates of the public service demonstrations to know that the situation is not an emergency.
• Yuma Catholic High School — April 29 at 8:20 a.m.
• Cibola High School — May 4 at 8:45 a.m.
• Gila Ridge High School — May 5 at 8:30 a.m.
Sarah Womer can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6858.