Photos by CONNIE ESH / The Wilson Post
By CONNIE ESHThe Wilson Post
MT. JULIET -- Local emergency personnel and law enforcement responded to a “serious” accident Thursday in front of Mt. Juliet High School on Curd Road here.
The accident appeared “serious,” but in realty was a mock fatal DUI wreck set up to let students see what could happen if they choose to drink and drive.
Since the Mt Juliet Prom is this weekend, officials said they hope the mock wreck will encourage the students not to take chances on prom night.
Initially, a mother who happened to roll up onto the scene called 911 to advise emergency responders of the crash, and then she realized her own daughter had been involved.
Quickly, Mt. Juliet Police Department, Wilson County Sheriff’s Department and Wilson County Emergency Management Agency arrived on the scene to help the victims.
Police officers immediately took the distraught mother away from the scene. Once on the scene, everyone realized that this was a major head-on crash involving two vehicles.
One vehicle had three occupants, and two of them had been ejected. They were not showing any signs of life. The third backseat passenger was critically injured and could not move.
The second vehicle had four occupants, one of which was a drunk driver. Beer bottles littered the roadway.
When WEMA personnel decided that one critically injured passenger needed to be taken to a trauma center immediately, a LifeFlight helicopter was dispatched and landed on the scene.
LifeFlight nurses rushed over to the crash scene, loaded the critical patient, and rushed her back to the helicopter.
After all the injured were cared for, officers had to investigate the possibility of drunk driving.
WCSD Cpl. Ray Justice gave the driver field sobriety testing and placed him under arrest for driving under the influence and transported him to Wilson County Jail.
The entire event was over in about a half-hour, but in real life, as Justice told the students, this would only be the beginning of the pain and trouble the students and their families would have to face. This was not a real crash, and no one was hurt or killed.
However, reality sank in for the many students at Mt. Juliet High as they watched the incident unfold.
The group’s goal was for the students to visualize the consequences of drunk driving.
With the prom set for Saturday in Nashville at Gaylord Opryland Hotel, this was a great opportunity, organizers said, to relay the message.
The event was staged with the help of the many first responders, volunteers, teachers and students, including event coordinators Tyler Chandler, MJPD Community Policing director; Jan Dickens, Health Science teacher at MJHS; and Justice with the WCSD.
Other groups which participated were LifeFlight, Hamblen’s Wrecker Service, MJPD Citizens’ Police Academy alumni volunteers and Mt. Juliet High’s HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America). The MJHS students whose realistic portrayals made the event come to life included Carter Loftis, acting as the drunk driver; Chelsea Atnip, Shelby Bush, Kiara Carver, Katherine Stephens, Shelley Choudhury and Taylor Dunn. Mrs. Kimberly Choudhury portrayed the distraught mother.
Making sure the injuries looked like the real thing were MJHS make-up artists Dana Harrison, instructor; Trang Huynh, Alexus Wade, Samantha Messerschmidt, Keri Messerschmidt and Ashley Anderson, students.
Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.