Sunday, December 10, 2023

Mock DUI presentation presents sobering message

Staff Writer | May 25, 2022 1:00 AM

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SANDPOINT – Lake Pend Oreille School District brought all its high school students together for the annual Mock DUI presentation, which included a skit to drive home the “don’t drive drunk” message.

With graduation and summer drawing even closer the administration of LPOSD decided it was time for the annual mock DUI presentation. Bringing together students from Priest River Lamanna, Sandpoint, Clark Fork, and Lake Pend Oreille high schools, the event — held for more than 18 years —is meant to educate students about the damaging effects of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

It’s something that Joanne Walker knows first-hand. Walker, who was hit by a drunken driver 23 years ago, told the students how the accident caused injuries and forced her into a wheelchair for a time as well as physical therapy, and time on crutches. Over two decades later, she said she still has to use crutches from time to time and discovered the accident left her with PTSD. She wanted the students to know, that the damage caused by driving under the influences is more than just physical injuries.

After Walker answered the audience's questions, next was a hands-on activity that proved a point with a little fun. Volunteer students from each school were asked to wear goggles that would impair one's vision similar to that of drinking alcohol before attempting to complete a scooter obstacle course and a game of dodgeball. The students — both those watching and those taking part — quickly learned how difficult even walking can be when one of the senses is impaired with the volunteers stumbling and falling shortly after putting the goggles on.

Quickly after the goggled dodgeball game, students were then shown a short video that showed all the ramifications of not only driving under the influence but the carnage caused by using drugs or alcohol at such a young age. The video featured a montage of a number of car accidents. The shock of which can audibly be heard as car accidents and the effects are depicted giving students a better idea of what can happen if one should only choose to drink and drive but consume any drinks before getting behind the wheel.

After Walker’s talk and video presentation, the students headed outside for a more personalized program.

The dispatch call of a head-on collision between a van and a truck, led students outside to witness firsthand the chaos of a drunken driving car accident.

Outside totaled cars were set up in a collision, several students took on the roles of high school students out on their prom night, and local emergency responders arrived as if they had been dispatched to a real car accident.

For the student actors involved this was a skit as a student “died” and another “arrested” for drunken driving. Other students involved in the crash were either cut from the vehicle by a firefighter or flown by a Life Flight helicopter to “receive care”. For the emergency responders involved, this experience is fairly realistic. Using real tools and treating the event like a real emergency, students watching got to see how a fun prom night can quickly turn into a nightmare that is too often a reality.

This event, aimed at giving the district’s high school students a real taste of what can happen, not only brings all the high schools in the district together as well as local first responders. Among those taking part were Lakeview Funeral Home, first responders from Bonner County Dispatch and EMS, Sandpoint Police, Idaho State Police, Selkirk Fire & Rescue, and Life Flight Network.

“The junior student council works with them [emergency service responders] so really the community comes together,” said Mary Imaz, Spanish II and Student Leadership advisor.

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