Mock Disaster Scene Portraying The Realities Of Drunk Driving Gets Bath County Students Attention

Hot Springs, Va – On Wednesday afternoon the parking lot at Bath County High School was turned into a mock accident scene. Bath County Sheriff Robert Plecker organized a realistic exercise to show juniors and seniors at the high school exactly what happens when there is a car accident.

A crumpled Jeep Cherokee and a small pickup truck were parked to simulate a head on collision. Students watched as members of the Hot Springs Rescue Squad used the jaws of life to cut the top off of the Jeep to remove the two students who were portraying the victims, one a fatality and the other one injured. The student portraying the driver of the pickup was a drunk driver and students watched as a State Trooper gave sobriety tests and handcuffed him.

Mike Spurgeon with the Hot Springs Rescue Squad addressed the students during the exercise

“Whatever you do, don’t be one of these victims,” says Spurgeon. “We don’t want to have to come out here and pull you out of a truck, pull you out of a car. If nothing else, please let this stick in your mind. Especially this young man that had to lay here and his mom come and identify him. That’s something that none of us want to have to deal with. Please be careful. Don’t drink and drive, don’t text and drive. I know you hear it over and over and over, but please, please don’t do it.”

Dillon Ryder played the role of the drunk driver. “It’s scary. It’s something I never want to go through,” says Ryder.

Michael Hamilton, who portrayed the injured victim, is a volunteer with the rescue squad.

“I’ve never had to be in a car wreck, but it’s life changing,” says Hamilton. “It’s different. It’s the real thing. I’ve been there and done it before. I hope they got something out of it.”

Nicole Harris played the passenger in the truck with the drunk driver.

“It was definitely an experience, because I’ve never been in a car wreck before,” says Harris. “So to see it from inside the wreck is different.”

And Shaun Dujardin played the fatality. He was removed from the Jeep and covered with a sheet. “Really it’s an experience that I’ve lived through once, but not as drastically, and I really don’t want to go through it again,” says Dujardin. “Even though a lot of people have known friends that have been through them, I don’t think they have actually seen it first hand, other than pictures.”

His mother, Ann Dujardin, also participated in the exercise, coming to identify him.

“I know that it’s a good thing to show the students in real life what can actually happen when they’re out having a little too much fun,” says Dujardin. “Even though I was playing the role of a hysterical parent, once you see the scene, it’s very easy to become hysterical. I just hope that all of these kids can take something good away from this and that they are smart drivers and that they don’t drink and drive.”

Bath Sheriff Robert Plecker is hoping to hold more of these exercises in the future. He wants to continue to educate students about the dangers of drinking and driving and also talking on cell phones and texting while driving.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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