Herald JournalHerald and Journal, April 29, 2002

Making an impression with a mock crash

By Lynda Jensen

Ten agencies and dozens of emergency personnel descended upon Howard Lake April 19 to give a lesson to Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted students about drinking and driving that they probably won't soon forget.

The agencies, including area law enforcement agencies, fire departments, the Wright County Coroner's Office, and the Air Care rescue helicopter staged a large mock car accident, rendering what it would be like to be involved, or witness an alcohol-related crash.

HLWW students were shepherded out to the scene of the accident to witness the scene.

Agencies involved were the HLWW school district, the Howard Lake Police Department, Howard Lake Fire and Ambulance, Wright County Sheriffs Department, Waverly Fire Department, Winsted Fire Department, Ridgeview Ambulance, North Air Care, Minnesota State Patrol, and the Wright County Coroner's Office.

The event can be staged any time of year, although it happens to coincide with prom in May, said Denny Bobrowske of the Howard Lake Fire Department.

The mock crash was also meant to teach students the importance of seat belt use, and to familiarize students about the role of public safety personnel and the services they provide to the community, Bobrowske said.

The main speaker was Charlie Knott of Howard Lake, with his wife Paula, and their daughter, Heather, who is in a wheelchair as the result of a car accident a number of years ago in which she was struck by a drunk driver.

Other speakers included Steve Berg, Janet Amatozio from Midwest Forensic Pathology of the Wright County Coroner's Office, and George Montgomery.

The following is an overview of how the crash was planned.

Overview of the scene

The simulated auto crash and victims were set up with the scene covered by tarps. After the students were assembled, a brief introduction was given by Steve Berg.


Automobile crash involving two cars. Car one contained three students.

· driver, who has been drinking, slightly injured and dazed.

· front seat passenger was thrown through the windshield and was lying dead on the hood of the car.

· back seat passenger was seriously injured and trapped in automobile.

Car two contains two adults (mom and dad) and one child.

· dad was injured slightly, but was able to leave vehicle on his own.

· mom was seriously injured in front seat and trapped.

· one child has been thrown from vehicle and was lying on the side of road with no pulse and no respiration.

Tarps are removed (indicating the beginning of the simulation) and victims were heard screaming in pain and calling for help.

A passing automobile with students pulls up nearby. They get out to see what happened and to see if they can help.

The student driver leaves car one, dazed.

The father leaves car two, and approaches his child on the street.

The students who find the crash realize what has happened and yells to go and call 911 from the car.

First police car arrives on scene and the officer surveys the scene and radios for fire, ambulance and additional police.

Over the PA system the sounds are heard as the fire equipment was dispatched.

The first officer confronts the student driver and the second squad car arrives.

The officer from the second car goes to assist with CPR on the child.

Sirens are head as first ambulance and fire engine arrives. The firefighters and EMTs leave their vehicles and approach the scene.

The EMTs begin to survey all injuries and the engine crew deploys a booster line as standby.

EMTs begin patient treatment, one specifically taking over CPR with child, while other tends to the injuries in the student car.

Father confronts the student driver with "You killed my son!" The father lashes out physically at the driver. The police officer has to intercede and separate them.

Second ambulance and rescue arrive.

Second rescue crew begins extrication process.

Second ambulance crew transports child.

First ambulance crew attends to father and extrication patient needs.

State Patrol arrives.

Air Care arrives.

Coroner arrives.

Extrication procedures and patient extraction, treatment and loading completed.

Air Care transports critical student.

Officer deals with driver and takes him to the station.

Now quiet, officer and engine crew assist coroner in placing bodies into body bags and loading into vehicle.

Ambulance door slams, indication the simulation has ended.

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