Every two years before prom, the City of Snoqualmie Police and Fire Departments simulate a DUI fatality collision for Mount Si High School juniors and seniors as a reminder of the dangers of drinking and driving. The scene mirrored a real crash. This year’s “Mock Crash” happened Wednesday morning, June 4th. Vehicles were cut apart, professional makeup artists were used, screams were heartwrenching, some [actors] “died,” some lived and some were badly injured. Real life emergency crews responded.
This is the 2014 Mount Si High School Mock Crash through the eyes of junior, Paige McCall…
I had heard about past mock crashes from upperclassmen, including my older sister, who cried when she tried to describe how she felt after seeing her best friend’s mom crying over her daughter, as she laid there, “dead” on the concrete.
But, still, I never thought much of it. They’re only acting. For me it was just a way to get out of second period for a day.
Wednesday, we all filed into the gym and found seats in the bleachers and they turned on a video of a staged party to “set the scene” for the simulation we were about to see. We all sat there watching, laughing a little as our classmates acted ridiculously on screen—laughing and stumbling and falling to the ground, playing the part of incredibly drunk teenagers.
It wasn’t that I was trying to be disrespectful; I just didn’t expect it to be something as powerful or moving as it was rumored to be.
So I walked out onto the football field as instructed, got a spot front and center, and waited for it to begin. All I could think is that I wanted it to be over because it was cold out. As soon as it started I still wanted it to end. But not because of the cold anymore. It was because I couldn’t bear to watch it any longer. Yet I still couldn’t seem to tear my eyes away.
It looked so real. Morbid curiosity got the better of me as my eyes stayed glued to the “accident” scene. Why weren’t the ambulances here yet? What’s taking so long? Our classmates covered in blood, broken and bruised, some “dead.” I found myself caught up in it as if it were the scene of a real accident, with these events unfolding before my eyes.
I continuously reminded myself, it’s only acting, it’s not real. But that’s not really true, is it?
Because while what we witnessed may have only been acting, it’s not always that simple. Because while we were able to walk away and those kids were able to get up off the ground and clean the fake blood off of themselves, that’s not how it goes, more often than not.
They got to go back to class, go back to their friends and families, return to pursuing their dreams, looking forward to their futures. Because it was only acting.
But I think the reason that we all reacted as we did, our hearts racing and openly crying in front of one another, is because we know that isn’t all it is.
It was a work of fiction based in fact.
While our classmates did not lose their lives, across the country others have and do, every single day.
Every 53 minutes in the United States someone dies in a drunk driving car collision. That’s 28 people per day, 8 of whom are teenagers. Car crashes are the number one killer of teens in America, and around 30% of those accidents have to do with alcohol.
These cold statistics that once meant very little to us, as a distant near-impossibility, suddenly have a hold over us that they didn’t before. We now know that the faces we see every day, our classmates, our friends, ourselves—we could be a part of that statistic.
Of course there were some who made jokes throughout or laughed it off. They were able to separate the performance from the reality, which is unfortunate, because if one of us ever has to come face-to-face with something like this again, it won’t be acting and it won’t be something you can laugh at.
I myself don’t think that I will ever forget the mock crash and I’m proud of the phenomenal job my classmates did with it. The screams, the crying, the sirens, the blood, and the tears are something I’ll never be able to forget, no matter how many times I remind myself that it was only acting.
The weight of the message within this performance will serve as a daily reminder to myself, and hopefully to others who watched it with me, that our actions have consequences, and that one wrong move could wreck everything we’ve worked so hard to get, and everything we have yet to achieve.