by Dennis Dalman
Sitting in the outdoor bleachers, some of the Sartell High School students wiped tears from their eyes, some groaned or gasped and some looked away in horror.
What they were seeing looked all too “real.”
A young woman, perhaps 18 year old, lay dead — face-down on a car trunk beneath the shattered windshield. Her beautiful prom dress, bloodied, fluttered in the breeze.
A young boy, who appeared to be about 11 years old, lay on his back on the asphalt. Despite desperate attempts to revive him through artificial resuscitation, he died, and ambulance personnel covered him with a white sheet.
Those two people were among four who were killed in a mock-crash staged April 20 at Sartell Middle School. Such mock-crashes are staged every other year, just before high-school prom night, to remind students of the extreme dangers of driving recklessly and/or drunk.
The mock-crash scenario was as follows: Two vehicles collided horrifically. One vehicle contained a family of four people. Another vehicle contained two high-school prom couples. Two died (one of the prom women and the family’s boy).
Others were injured. The male high-school prom student who drove the car was arrested for being drunk. At the scene, he argued, acted belligerently and had to be restrained several times by emergency personnel. In the meantime, the mother of the dead boy was wailing and pleading.
Sirens blaring in the distance became louder and louder, nearly ear-splitting, as police cars and an ambulance arrived at the scene. Shortly after, a fire truck arrived, ready to extinguish a car fire just in case (one of the cars was emitting smoke).
All of the actors in the mock-crash drama were so convincing, spectators remarked they could have won acting awards. The accident “victims” expressed a wide range of emotions from disbelief to anger, from hysterical tears to numb grief, from panic to sickening silence.
And the hundreds of students who watched from the bleachers out in the sun were obviously moved and terrified by what they’d seen. After the mock-crash event, as they walked away from the scene, many of the students were pale in the face, some still had tears in their eyes and several said, “Oh, that was so real-looking!”