ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE | Members from the 28th Civil Engineer Squadron and the 28th Medical Group joined with local first responders on May 9 to show students the dangers of driving under the influence at Douglas High School in Box Elder.
Freshmen Impact is an educational opportunity for students in the area to learn how distracted driving can lead to serious consequences.
“The purpose of this event is to get the attention of this young group of individuals,” said Master Sgt. Gerald Wile, 944th CES fire protection superintendent. “These young adults are just starting to drive and we want to reach out to them and help change some of their attitudes toward being in a vehicle, drinking and driving or texting while driving.”
As part of the event, first responders from Ellsworth AFB and the local area put on a simulated vehicle collision caused by a drunk driver and showed in graphic detail what can result for all parties involved.
“We wanted to show these students what can happen when you drive under the influence,” said Senior Airmen Erasmo Rivera, a 28th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician. “We wanted to add shock value to this because textbooks can only do so much. If they see [an accident], then it can leave a lasting impression and maybe make them change their minds before getting behind the wheel when they have drugs or alcohol in their system.”
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Students watched the simulation portrayed by the first responders. The demonstration depicted fake blood, broken bones, screaming and even the corpse of a young girl was placed in a body bag. Ambulances took the fake injured away and a helicopter from the hospital flew one of the students pretending to be injured away from the scene. A hearse took away the body of the pretending deceased.
After the intense and realistic display, a mock court case followed. The defendant was sentenced to 15 years in jail and ordered to pay over $300,000 in restitution to those affected by the individual’s poor choice.
Events like Freshmen Impact may help young adults make intelligent decisions when they get behind the wheel.
“Pay attention to the road,” Wile said. “It’s not only you driving. A lot of people think they are a good drivers and that they are safe, but they need to worry about those other drivers who are on the road. Our new drivers need to have their head on a swivel and pay attention to the other people who may have made a poor decision like driving under the influence.”