Mock Crash Gets Students Thinking Ahead of Prom Season - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Mock Crash Gets Students Thinking Ahead of Prom Season

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Students at Midway High School are getting ready for prom on Saturday. But before the dresses and dancing, they got a real life, graphic lesson on the dangers of drinking and driving.

Photojournalist Dave Erickson traveled to the small community of Johnstown, North Dakota, to capture a mock crash that school officials hope will keep the teens from making bad choices.

Midway High School senior Sydney Dale recalls the night one of her family members died tragically in a car accident. "My uncle on Halloween he went out to the bars and had a few drinks and he made a bad decision.  Later that night we got a call that he was dead, just out there," Dale explains.

Grand Forks County Sheriff Bob Rost says spring is the perfect time to give kids a bit of a wake up call. "Its prom time.  This is when accidents happen when kids do foolish things and people end up injured or killed," Rost says.

"I remember feeling so terrible from that and I just want to make sure that people know that things like this do happen and it is a terrible feeling," Dale says as she recalls the night of her uncles accident.

Mackenzie Irwin, a Junior at Midway High School reacts to the mock crash on Thursday afternoon. "It looked really real and even if you think that it can't happen to you it can and you could be that innocent person in this."

"These kids were watching it and I could see my teacher come running up to me crying," Dale said while observing her classmates in the emergency exercise. "Hopefully that means that people got the message that this does happen and it is scary."

"I was kinda watching the faces when the exercise was going on and just the look on their face tells me that their getting something out of this," Sheriff Rost explains.

And Sydney Dale agrees that proactive teaching, preventative efforts, are the way to go. "Honestly, who wants to wait until something bad happens and then teach."

The exercise was made possible with help from several organizations, including the Grand Forks Sheriff's Office, fire and rescue teams from Gilby, Inkster, Larimore, and Manvel, as well as Altru Health and the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

The Clearwater County Sheriff's Office and Bagley High School will be holding a similar mock car crash for students on Friday in Bagley, MN.
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