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Local police, fire departments stage fatal crashes to teach students dangers of drunk/drugged driving



Photo courtesy of Westport Police Department

DIGHTON — Police Chief Robert MacDonald and Fire Chief Christopher Maguy announce that the Dighton Police and Fire Departments conducted a simulation of a fatal drunk driving motor vehicle crash in front of an audience of Dighton-Rehoboth juniors and seniors last week.

Dighton Police and Fire crews “responded” to the scene of a fatal drunk-driving crash, which was staged outside the high school while juniors and seniors looked on. The simulation event is designed to demonstrate the serious dangers of drinking or doing drugs before getting behind the wheel of a car ahead of prom.

Dighton Police Officer/School Resource Officer Stephen Hathaway organized the simulation, which also served as a valuable training exercise for the members of the Dighton Police and Fire Departments. Two previously-crashed cars were brought in courtesy of Diamond Towing in Somerset, with student actors playing the victims and suspect.

The simulation illustrated a motor vehicle crash where a driver — operating as if under the influence of alcohol — ran a red light and crashed head-on into another car. Prior to the mock crash, student actors involved in the skit were at an after-prom party where they were consuming alcohol underage.

SRO Hathway narrated the simulation as Dighton Police and Fire arrived on the scene with lights and sirens blaring. They immediately began extricating passengers from the cars and administering field sobriety tests to the driver.

As part of the simulation, one of the student actors “died” at the scene, and the driver of one of the vehicles was “arrested” for operating under the influence. Another student actor was loaded into an ambulance to be “transported” to the hospital.

“This simulation provides our departments the perfect opportunity ahead of prom season to teach automotive safety to students by showing what can actually happen when they drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, text and drive, or fail to wear their seat belt,” Chief MacDonald said. “With prom season just around the corner, we hope that this simulation serves as a helpful reminder to students to make safe and smart decisions whenever they drive, and especially on prom night.”

After the simulation, SRO Hathway shared some facts and statistics surrounding driving under the influence with students, including the specific laws about impaired driving and underage drinking and the costs associated with OUI crashes.

“It’s imperative that young drivers understand the gravity of the dangers associated with operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol and the possible consequences of making that bad decision,” Chief Maguy said. “Oftentimes, there are deadly consequences that come with making the decision to drink and drive, and we want to do our part to ensure that we don’t have to make that devastating call to families.”

On Thursday morning, Westport Police and Fire collaborated to stage a mocked car accident at Westport High School. Seniors and juniors were all in attendance and made aware of the consequences of driving under the influence.

Student actors, parents, Potter’s Funeral Home, and Brayton’s Garage were involved in the presentation.

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