Mock crash at high school is sobering

May 01, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- A mock drunken-driving crash got the attention of more than 250 Morgan County high school students Friday morning.

Held in the Berkeley Springs High School driveway and parking areas between the gymnasium and the school's back entrance, the students watched the mock crash, which included more than 25 people who would respond to the scene of a real accident.

Four Berkeley Springs High School students participated in the mock exercise. The drunken driver, Brittani Swaim was able to walk away uninjured, but the front-seat passenger, Dean Vosburg, died. The back-seat passengers, Bradley Reed and Lauren Patrick, were taken out of the car after the windshield and roof were removed.

Deputies from the Morgan County Sheriff's Department arrived at the scene along with firefighters from the Berkeley Springs Fire Department and Hancock Fire Co. in Washington County, Md.


Morgan County Emergency Services personnel were part of the mock crash, as well as a NOVA Medevac Air Care helicopter team from Winchester, Va., which flew in to transport Patrick.

Even the mock dead passenger, Vosburg, was placed in a body bag.

Morgan County Sheriff's Department Deputy Kevin Barney, who is the high school's prevention resource officer, said he worked with Debbie Flowers, the Morgan County Partnership Oasis Team prevention specialist, to get all of the entities in place for the mock exercise.

Barney said they wanted to show what can happen when you drink and drive and what the odds are if you keep making the wrong choices.

"Even if you make a mistake and are involved in an accident while intoxicated, there will be consequences, but we can still help you make better choices next time," Barney said.

Sheriff Vince Shambaugh said since he has been working with young students in the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, he has seen some positive changes through the program.

Tiffany Remsburg, 18, said she will attend West Virginia University next year.

"It's kinda scary and kinda sobering," she said while watching the mock exercise.

Geoffrey Blankenship, also a senior and headed for WVU, watched while the firefighters cut off the car's roof to extract the back-seat passengers.

"It shows how much work they put into it if you survive," he said. "It's hard to get the people out of the car."

Flowers told the students after the event to "stand up to your friends who want to drink and drive and say no so you can save a life."

"Don't drink and drive," Shambaugh said. "Make the right decisions."

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