A simulation of a real-life struggle
LOUISBURG — Late last week, Louisburg High students sat on bleachers, fiddling with cell phones and joking with each other, the kinds of things you would expect to hear or see before the next sporting event began.
However, members of the Vehicle Injury Prevention for a Very Important Person team weren’t playing games.
And when it was time to start, neither were students.
Members of VIP for a VIP Inc. — mostly fire and rescue personnel — travel around the state, using a simulation to drive home the message that teens need to give driving their undivided attention.
“It’s so important to make wise decisions,” said School Principal Freda Clifton.
Failure to do so can lead to wrecks causing personal injury or death.
You can tell teens about that message, VIP members said.
It’s more important to show them, too, so the group put on a demonstration at the high school, showing students the horrifying effects of distracted driving or driving under the influence.
As the only sound heard was wind whipping up a blue tarp, emergency personnel let it go, revealing a mangled sport utility vehicle.
The top of a snapped utility pole pierced the windshield, laying next to the driver, an apparent teenager slumped against the wheel — his shattered forearm hung out the window, attached by broken bone and strained tendons.
Although it was apparently Hollywood type makeup and prosthetics, it drew gasps from the crowd.
The sounds of a State Highway Patrol car’s sirens dovetailed those gasps as emergency responders then sprung into action.
Fire crews from Epsom and Louisburg responded to the scene, turning the green Jeep into a tin can, first slicing through glass, then metal that attached the hood to the roof.
A few more slices by the hydraulic machine allowed workers to peel back the roof of the car, exposing the driver, who remained unconscious and presumed dead.
After turning the hard top into a drop top, they pulled the driver from the wreckage, placing him on a stretcher — exposing prosthetic guts to the crowd — again drawing gasps.
Paramedics tried to bring the driver back to life.
At that moment, the driver’s parents rolled on scene, screaming and pleading for their son to live.
It wasn’t meant to be as paramedics pronounced the driver dead, threw a white sheet on top of him and loaded his lifeless body into a waiting ambulance.
“We’re here because we care about you,” said Scott Strufe, an EMS Program Manager and Training Officer in Nash County. “We want you to make good decisions.”