Through a collaboration with Mount Si High School’s student government and several local public safety organizations, Mount Si’s mock DUI crash event was held the morning of May 30 for the junior and senior classes.
The mock crash, held once every two years, is a collaboration that shows the consequences drinking and driving can have not only on an individual driver’s life, but the lives of others as well. Two crashed cars are set up outside the school and a group of students act out how dangerous the outcomes of driving while under the influence can be.
Mount Si associated student body (ASB) president and senior Jake Ehrlich said this year’s event was staged as a multi-part story. The event began with an assembly in the gymnasium to watch a student film depicting teenagers leaving a party and driving away, only to get into a serious accident. After the film students were led outside to see the crash in person.
Mount Si students lined the fence along Schusman Avenue Southeast as they watched first responders pull several classmates from the two crashed vehicles. Police and firefighters raced to the scene and rescued several students from the crash and loaded them into ambulances. The students acting as the vehicle occupants had injuries created with makeup and fake blood to outwardly depict the damage caused by the crash.
After police and fire took care of the victims, the students were led back into the school for two more followup films depicting the aftermath at Snoqualmie Valley Hospital and the police station. The videos were created by student filmmaker Kaiden Barlow, who used the actors in the crash to film the before and after short films to create a narrative to help convey the event’s message.
After the videos, Mount Si attendance counselor Bronwyn McDaniels briefly spoke about her own experience losing a loved one in a drunk driving accident and keynote speaker Cara Filler wrapped up the event with her speech about losing a loved one in a drunk driving accident and detailed how teenagers can make the right choices to avoid putting themselves and others in dangerous situations.
Ehrlich said he and ASB secretary Adele Werner worked together with the Snoqualmie police and fire departments, King County Fire, Eastside Fire and Rescue and the Fall City Fire Department to put on the event. They began meeting in January in order to secure the resources needed to stage the crash, including acquiring two damaged vehicles to use in the crash.
The effectiveness of mock crashes in imparting a message on students has been questioned, Ehrlich said, but the students who worked on the event felt very strongly that their production would be a great way to express the impacts of drunk driving and that they could take the emphasis from the shock element to focus more on the post-crash impacts.
“There were some statistics brought up by numerous people in the Valley about how scare tactics aren’t super effective and we tried to listen to all that but our planning crew really felt this event we put on really has a strong impact so we started to see how we could change it a bit and really focus on the aftereffects of what happens when you decide to drink and drive,” he said. “We just really wanted to give a really good presentation to the students about why you don’t do this.”
The Mount Si ASB also worked with the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network to include the “Your Life, Your Choice” campaign into the event by having students sign a large banner with a pledge to never drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
“I really had a really good time getting to plan this event this year along with Adele Werner. Huge props to her for helping me with this,” Ehrlich said. “It’s a super strong and impactful event that I’m glad we carried out…If we can even manage to save one life, one life in this whole presentation, it’s worth it.”