Breaking News: Mock Crash
By Sydney Roll
“Freshman and juniors, proceed to the second level of the garage. Sophomores and seniors, proceed to the top level of the garage.” Confusion was evident on the faces of Seton students; they were aware that there was some sort of assembly dealing with texting and driving, but being asked to go outside was a strange request. As the students stood at the edge of the parking garage, what they saw was a shock: police cars, fire trucks, two badly crashed cars, and peers bloody and un-moving in the midst of the wreckage. Students watched on as the sequence of events following a car crash unfolded. The fire trucks arrived on the scene and began severing the roof of one of the cars involved.
At first, students were laughing and running around, but when senior Carly Henkenberns was escorted from her vehicle, later determined to be the vehicle that caused the crash, seemingly drunk and screaming about her boyfriend, an eerie silence fell over the crowd. Covered in blood, she sat in the back of the cruiser crying and screaming, while the first response team continued to cut the roof from the car that was being driven by the victim. Jake Brunner, senior at Elder and Courtney Schira, junior at Seton, were pronounced ‘dead’ at the scene. Among the injured were Katie Niederbaumer, junior, who was interested in becoming a nurse, Carly Henkenberns (mentioned above) who was the drunk passenger of the car that caused the crash, Alex Stautberg who was convicted of possession of drugs and illegal firearms and Gunnar Smyth, the drunk driver who was texting while driving. All in all, the mock crash was gruesome and heart-wrenching, especially when the father of one of the teens involved was forcibly escorted from the immediate scene because he was screaming and crying uncontrollably.
From the scene of the crime, the students from Seton and Elder proceeded to Elder’s Fieldhouse for a presentation given by the Cincinnati Police and Fire Department. The presentation included photos of victims killed, tragically, in several different car crashes, toxicology reports and commentary from members of the Fire and Police Departments.
Elder senior Austin Kibler said, “The whole presentation seemed like a blur. It was a great eye-opener for everyone, especially since it’s time for proms and graduation. If you’re going to party, think before you get behind the wheel.”
The group FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America), led by Beth Kilburn, teacher at Seton High School, were the ones responsible for the mock crash presentation. Since October, the members of FCCLA have been planning this crash. “This would not have been possible without the grant graciously given to us by State Farm,” said Kilburn.
The purpose of this presentation wasn’t to instill fear in the hearts of the students but to open their eyes to the reality around them. As mentioned several times in the presentation, “It could happen to you.”