Mock crash de­liv­ers pow­er­ful mes­sage

MADD Burin Penin­sula raise aware­ness of im­paired driv­ing dan­gers at For­tune Arena

The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - BY COLIN FAR­RELL FOR­TUNE, N.L. Colin.far­[email protected]­erngazette.ca

Stu­dents from Burin Penin­sula schools silently looked on as the events of the mock crash played out in front of them.

Held May 2 at For­tune Arena, it of­fered a dra­matic de­pic­tion of events lead­ing up to a fa­tal ac­ci­dent, then pre­sented how those left be­hind are im­pacted by such tragic and avoid­able mo­ments.

In a staged high school assem­bly, teach­ers, po­lice and mem­bers of Moth­ers Against Drunk Driv­ers talked to stu­dents about the dan­gers of driv­ing while im­paired by drugs or al­co­hol. For the per­for­mance, the stu­dents acted as if they are ex­chang­ing text mes­sages about their plans for the night, read­ing aloud the so-called texts so they can be heard by all.

The teens later cel­e­brated at a cabin party, prior to the per­for­mance’s dra­matic turn. First re­spon­ders con­trib­uted to the event, which ended with a fu­neral scene.

Many of the stu­dents who viewed the mock crash re­ceived its mes­sage.

“I thought it was re­ally in­for­ma­tive,” said Darcy Ed­ward, a level II stu­dent at Holy Name of Mary Acad­emy, in Lawn, “It got a lot across to the youth of the penin­sula. I think it hit home for some peo­ple, es­pe­cially with the (per­sonal) sto­ries told like the one (about) Cory Ken­way that hit hard def­i­nitely — it was a big eye opener.”

Ken­way, a Baine Har­bour na­tive, was killed in a 2004 sin­gle-ve­hi­cle im­paired driv­ing ac­ci­dent. He was a pas­sen­ger in the ve­hi­cle and only 17.

Ed­wards added that for him one of the most pow­er­ful images de­picted dur­ing the event was that of a young women be­ing taken from the ve­hi­cle as she screams to the per­son in the driver seat, who’s char­ac­ter in the mock crash dies. “That was pretty shock­ing,” he said.

Chloe Mur­phy, a Grade 9 stu­dent from Christ the King school in Rushoon, the same school Ken­way at­tended, said the event was very pow­er­ful and mov­ing.

“We’ve al­ways been taught at the school don’t drink and drive,” she ex­plained.

Mes­sage re­ceived

The event, which is de­signed to raise aware­ness to the dan­gers of driv­ing im­paired, was spon­sored by the Burin Penin­sula Chap­ter of Moth­ers Against Drunk Driv­ing (MADD) Canada.

Roma Hen­neb­ury, chap­ter pres­i­dent, said the event went very well, “and sent a pow­er­ful mes­sage to all who at­tended.”

That mes­sage, she said, is that they are the ones who can make change hap­pen.

“They have that abil­ity to make the right choice and sep­a­rate drink­ing or us­ing drugs from driv­ing,” she said. “It is within them to change the sta­tis­tics and help us in our mis­sion.”

Hen­neb­ury also added that the use of stark im­agery helped bring home the mes­sage.

“The clos­ing scene with the cas­ket was a very pow­er­ful and stark im­age of the con­se­quences of driv­ing while im­paired.”

Mem­bers of the Burin Penin­sula RCMP along with paramedics, emer­gency med­i­cal re­spon­ders took part in the MADD mock crash event.

PHOTOS BY COLIN FAR­RELL/ THE SOUTH­ERN GAZETTE

The stu­dents de­picted the events of a shed party that takes a turn for the worse.

The mock crash demon­stra­tion also fea­tured youth play-act­ing in a fu­neral for a friend killed in the sim­u­lated im­paired driv­ing in­ci­dent.

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