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Mock crash drives home message

WARRENSBURG - Highs School student Anna Brand lay on the ground, seemingly lifeless near a smashed vehicle, wearing a prom dress splattered with mock blood.

Portraying a victim of a drunken-driving crash, her eyes were closed and she whispered to maintain her realistic pose under a white sheet.

Without moving her head, she peered at other students "trapped" in a crushed vehicle as firefighters scurried to pry off the roof to free the students, also stained with mock blood inside the car.

"It's so strange to see my friends in a situation like this - this image won't leave my mind for a while," she said.

Anna was one of a group of students who participated in a a crash dramatization, staged April 22 beside Warrensburg High School, three days before the school's Junior Prom.

Area emergency responders, including police, fire and medical personnel, worked for 45 minutes using standard protocol as if the incident were real.

The re-creation included the arrival of a Medivac helicopter to portray transporting mock-crash victim Abby Roth, a WCS Junior, away to Albany Medical Center.

Warrensburg Emergency Squad EMT Amy McFarlane narrated the incident, punctuating her talk with poignant observations that students might take to heart.

"Who's left at home watching your little brother as your horrified parents rush to the hospital so they can say their last goodbyes to you?" she asked as students sat silently and watched the emergency personnel tend to the young victims of the staged crash.

Watching the mayhem, Warrensburg Firefighter Bob Cleveland said he had tended to too many drinking-and-driving fatalities. A particularly gruesome crash years ago, he said, led to his resignation from the Warrensburg Emergency Squad.

"I don't think any of these kids realize how drinking and driving has such permanent devastation on families," he said. "I hope this event gets the point across."

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