Mock accident sends powerful message

CREATING A REALISTIC SCENE — Lake Region High School student Brandon Silvia played the role of the deceased accident victim during Monday's mock collision held outside of the school. (Rivet Photos)

CREATING A REALISTIC SCENE — Lake Region High School student Brandon Silvia played the role of the deceased accident victim during Monday's mock collision held outside of the school. (Rivet Photos)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

NAPLES — A junior at Lake Region High School was killed Monday when the four-door Infiniti collided head on with a sports utility vehicle on Route 302 in Naples.

Maine State Police Trooper Steven Green said the 17-year-old was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected through the front windshield. He suffered a fatal head injury, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Trooper Green and Pastor Phil Reynard of Bridgton met with the teen’s parents, who arrived at the accident scene. The teen’s father could be heard saying, “No, no, please tell me it wasn’t Brandon.”

Trooper Green said a female passenger suffered multiple injuries, but was conscious when Naples Rescue arrived. She was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Firefighters and rescue personnel from Bridgton, Casco and Sebago were also on the scene.

A local couple, who were traveling in a Chevrolet Blazer, suffered undisclosed injuries. Both were conscious when emergency personnel arrived at the scene. Firefighters had to use “Jaws of Life” to extract the injured subjects from the vehicles.

While the accident remains under investigation, Trooper Green said the fatal collision was caused by…

FIRST ON THE SCENE was Maine State Police Trooper Steven Green.

FIRST ON THE SCENE was Maine State Police Trooper Steven Green.

As firefighters used the Jaws of Life to saw off doors and rooftops of the two vehicles, Lake Region High School juniors and seniors watched intently from behind a fenced off area as to what COULD happen as the result of a bad choice — be it consumption of alcohol, using excessive speed or due to lack of attentiveness caused by texting.

The “mock accident” certainly felt like the “real thing” from the quick response and action by local law enforcement, fire and rescue to the look of the accident victims, who appeared to suffer from lacerations, leaving a large amount of “blood” at the scene.

LifeFlight was even scheduled to land on an athletic field, but at the last moment, the helicopter (which was in sight) was diverted to Poland to respond to an actual emergency.

“We’ve been working on putting this together for some time,” Lake Region Principal Ted Finn said. “We hope our kids get the message.”

Once the accident scene was “cleared,” students returned to the gymnasium for some final words.

STRONG MESSAGE — LRHS juniors and seniors stand along the fenced area to watch emergency personnel attempt to reach victims of the two vehicle mock accident.

STRONG MESSAGE — LRHS juniors and seniors stand along the fenced area to watch emergency personnel attempt to reach victims of the two vehicle mock accident.

“We put this presentation on for you because we know this is the time in your lives that you will be going out and having a great time. It is easy to forget how some things could have a major impact on your life — like a car accident. I have been to many accidents during my career, and what you saw here today was very realistic,” Trooper Green said. “We’re asking you that you take some time and think before you act when you are out with friends; or if your phone starts to vibrate and it’s from someone you have been waiting to talk to or text to; or if you have made the decision to consume alcohol or drugs — that you don’t get behind the wheel of a car and drive.”

While at the mock accident scene, Trooper Green could hear students behind him comment as to how “real” the fatality appeared — right down to local funeral home director Eric Hall of Casco placing the deceased teen (played by Brandon Silvia) in a red-colored body bag and with assistance of firefighters lifting it into a gray van.

“It was as close as being real as you could get,” Trooper Green said. “It gave me the creeps, and I have been to a lot of accidents.”

Sobering facts

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

• Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. In 2010, seven teens ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries. Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.

• In 2010, about 2,700 teens in the United States, aged 16 to 19, were killed and almost 282,000 were treated and released from emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor-vehicle crashes.

SERIOUS LOOKS were on the faces of LRHS students watching the mock accident unfold.

SERIOUS LOOKS were on the faces of LRHS students watching the mock accident unfold.

• In 2010, the motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 16 to 19 was almost two times that of their female counterparts.

• The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than among any other age group. The motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 16 to 19 was almost two times that of their female counterparts. The presence of teen passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers. This risk increases with the number of teen passengers.

Among male drivers between 15 and 20 years of age who were involved in fatal crashes in 2010, 39% were speeding at the time of the crash and 25% had been drinking.

• Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use. In 2011, only 54% of high school students reported they always wear seat belts when riding with someone else.

• In 2010, 22% of drivers aged 15 to 20 involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes were drinking.

FIREFIGHTERS work to cut off the roof of one of the vehicles.

FIREFIGHTERS work to cut off the roof of one of the vehicles.

• In a national survey conducted in 2011, 24% of teens reported that, within the previous month, they had ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol and 8% reported having driven after drinking alcohol within the same one-month period.

• In 2010, 56% of drivers aged 15 to 20 were killed in motor vehicle crashes after drinking and driving were not wearing a seat belt.

• In 2010, half of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred between 3 p.m. and midnight and 55% occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

 

PARENTS' WORST NIGHTMARE — A couple is comforted by Pastor Phil Reynard after receiving news from Trooper Green that their son had been killed.

PARENTS' WORST NIGHTMARE — A couple is comforted by Pastor Phil Reynard after receiving news from Trooper Green that their son had been killed.

TRAGIC ENDING — Local funeral director Eric Hall of Casco prepares to load the deceased into an awaiting van.

TRAGIC ENDING — Local funeral director Eric Hall of Casco prepares to load the deceased into an awaiting van.

RESCUING a couple in the other vehicle.

RESCUING a couple in the other vehicle.

A SURVIVOR of the crash is removed from the vehicle by emergency personnel.

A SURVIVOR of the crash is removed from the vehicle by emergency personnel.

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