Photo submitted
In full crash-simulation make-up, students at Springville-Griffith Institute High School show the dangers of distracted driving. Pictured (from left): Claire Mariea, Meadow Wittman, Mike Sobota, Mason Goodridge,
Topher Elkins and Jackson Richert.


By Ely Schosek
Student Reporter

Most people are aware of the dangers a person faces when they chose to make poor decisions in regard to driving, such as drinking or texting.
At Springville-Griffith Institute High School, six students were selected to participate in a simulation Monday demonstrating how dangerous those poor decisions can be.
Claire Mariea called it a “wake up call” for the senior class.
“It was supposed to be a post-crash simulation of what could happen,” said Topher Elkins.
The group started off their morning by getting “the gory look done” by Chaz Vance, a professional makeup artist, who works not only on the crash simulation but on other activities around the school throughout the year.
The group had fake blood painted all over them, and some like Jackson Richert had more serious injuries.
“It looked as though I had part of my skull showing through my skin,” he said. “Then, once we were all bloody and our clothes were ripped, we went into the cars, which were already staged to look as though one had rear-ended the other.”
The students involved all noted that they didn’t have much of an idea what they were going to do until they got outside.
The scenario was as follows. Mason Goodridge was driving home drunk from a party with three others in the car. Meadow Wittman was in the backseat without a seat belt on, so she flew through the windshield and died, while Claire and Mike were injured but not dead yet. Topher was driving the car that was rear-ended. He had stopped quickly and got rear-ended by a drunk driver, Mason. Jackson was in the passenger seat and had banged his head on the dashboard and died.
“We then all had to act how we would act in the roles we were given in this scenario. I was dead, so I just had to remain motionless for the entire time, which got pretty difficult,” said Jackson.
Claire said, “Up until this point, I was really worried that I would struggle to find that emotion to act this out, but as I heard the sirens wailing and saw ambulances racing through the parking lot, and I looked over at my good friend, Mason Goodridge, covered in fake blood, it struck a nerve in me and I instantly felt a connection to a real scenario.”
She continued by saying, “I was very easily able to start screaming for my other friends in horror, and I actually began to shake and feel my lips tremble without me trying. It was a feeling that I can’t explain and I hope that nobody involved or watching would ever have to witness a real situation like that.”
“Aside from knowing what condition we were in (dead, alive, alive but unresponsive, etc.), we weren’t given a whole lot of direction,” Mike Sobota said. He also mentioned, “I think this was by design to represent the confusion and disorientation a real crash could have, but anyway, none of us really knew what was going on and when we were supposed to start ‘acting’.”
“I think everyone was nervous because the teachers had told us how real it gets and how scary it is,” Meadow said. “Being dead, I didn’t really see much of what else happened but it was a real eye-opener for me about how easily this could happen.”
Sobota said that because he was alive but unresponsive, he isn’t completely sure what happened. “I think the fire dept cut off the doors of the car and the EMTs put me on a backboard to get me out of the car,” he said. “I was then put on a stretcher and moved into an ambulance, then the helicopter landed and I was moved into Mercy Flight, but it didn’t take off. After that the simulation ended.”
Clarie also mentioned that, “In the end, I had a lot of friends that I’ve barely talked to this year that came up to me and said that I almost made them cry and that they were actually scared and upset when they saw me stumble out of the vehicle and yell for my ‘deceased’ friends in agony.”
“I’m glad I was able to take part in this to show just how serious, heartbreaking and even very local this type of situation can occur,” she added.
For all of those involved, the car crash simulation showed what could really happen when someone chooses to drink and drive or text while driving.