Mock accident stresses smart choices

Photos by Traci Westcott/The Herald
Northeast Dubois High School students watch as senior Addison Kirchoff, front, and Dubois County Substance Abuse Council Coordinator Jenna Bieker lay on the ground during a mock accident at the school on Thursday. "I think it will be a good, but scary, mental picture," Bieker said. "I hope it will make them think twice." 


DUBOIS — The parking lot at Northeast Dubois High School became a mock accident scene Thursday afternoon.

Juniors and seniors watched as emergency responders ran through their protocols in a mock car and all-terrain vehicle accident that looked like chaos.

Seniors Jackson Brosmer and Logan Dodd portrayed being trapped in a car as firefighters from the Celestine, Dubois and Haysville volunteer fire departments used the jaws of life to cut into the car. A third passenger, portrayed by junior Chloe Terwiske, was able to exit the vehicle before the jaws of life were applied. Behind the car, senior A.J. Kirchoff lay on the ground next to an overturned ATV while first responder John Dodd ran through medical protocols.

“Leave the helmet on,” onlookers heard Dodd tell Kirchoff.

A few feet from Dodd and Kirchoff, Jenna Bieker, coordinator of the Dubois County Substance Abuse Council, lay without a helmet, her face covered in fake blood and a chicken bone taped to her wrist to look like a protruding bone. With her, the first responders put her on a stretcher before carrying her to the StatFlight medevac helicopter that had landed near the school a few minutes earlier.

Northeast Dubois High School senior Brooklyn Dodd, left, and junior Taylor Dodd watch during a mock accident at the school on Thursday. Taylor's brother and Brooklyn's cousin, Logan Dodd, volunteered to be a victim in the mock accident. "It's so real," Brooklyn said. "It makes me want to cry."

“That was very scary,” Kirchoff said after the mock accident. “It was a little too real.”

Northeast Dubois School Resource Officer Tim Lampert organized the mock accident as a pre-prom reminder for students to make smart choices.

According to the scenario Lampert wrote, the driver of the car— portrayed by Brosmer — was texting, and the backseat passenger — portrayed by Logan Dodd — wasn’t wearing a seat belt. The ATV driver— portrayed by Kirchoff— had been drinking and vaping marijuana. The ATV passenger — portrayed by Bieker — was not wearing a helmet and suffered a massive head injury. She was medevaced to the hospital, but was pronounced dead on the way. At the end of the scenario, law enforcement portrayed arresting Kirchoff.

See a gallery of photos from the mock accident here.

“It was kind of creepy, especially because it was people you knew,” senior Kelsey Cronin said after watching the mock accident.

After the accident, Brosmer, Dodd, Kirchoff and Terwiske shared the experience with their classmates.

“It was really crazy,” Brosmer said. “I had to act like I’d just wrecked my car. I couldn’t move my shoulder or anything.”

Dubois Volunteer Fire Department member Brent Hopf explains how firefighters safely removed victims to Northeast Dubois High School juniors after a mock accident at the school on Thursday.

Brosmer and Dodd both talked about feeling the window glass fall on them as the jaws of life were used. They were both covered by blankets, so they couldn’t see what was going on, but they could hear and feel it.

“I was laying right under the window, and it broke all over my face,” Dodd said.

After watching the mock accident, the students broke into smaller groups and talked to each of the responding groups to learn more about what happens in a real-life situation. The groups were: Department of Natural Resources, Indiana State Police and Dubois County Sheriff's Office deputies who talked about the law enforcement side; representatives from the Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office who talked about the court process that follows an OWI accident, especially one that is fatal; medical and fire department first responders from Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center and the Celestine, Dubois and Haysville volunteer fire departments who talked about getting medical care to injured patients; and school staff who talked about how the school would respond if a student was killed in an accident.

Although the accident was staged, the emergency personnel treated it as a real-life situation for training purposes, and the students saw the authenticity. The experience seemed to make a point.

“It does show you that these things do happen, even though no one ever thinks it’ll happen to them,” said junior Kaylie Bonifer. “It makes it more real for people.”

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