Mock accident brings reality of drinking and driving to CVU students

Brent Carreiro in the foreground, Jim Buell and Josh Flore in front of the gathered juniors and seniors.

Every 30 minutes in the U.S. someone is killed by an impaired driver and approximately 5,500 people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking. In addition to fatalities, alcohol use is linked to physical violence, sexual assault, and a host of other issues. In recognition of National Alcohol Awareness Month, Connecting Youth in Chittenden South has held events along with student and community awareness activities across the district throughout the month of April. These events culminated in the bi-annual mock crash demonstration held on Thursday, May 3 at CVU.
At 10 am the mock call went out Shelburne Dispatch to Charlotte Fire and Rescue, Hinesburg Fire and First Response, Shelburne Fire and Rescue, Williston Fire and Rescue, and St. Mike’s Rescue…Respond for a reported two car auto accident with multiple injuries and entrapment on CVU Road in front of the high school.” While the junior and senior class looked on in silence, emergency services personnel from Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, and Williston started arriving on the scene that was staged just east of the entrance to the high school. As they arrived, fire and rescue personnel went to work extricating injured students from the car. Officer Fox pronounced senior Brent Carreiro “dead at the scene” as he lay across the hood of the red sedan that was being driven by junior Keith Kelly, playing the role of impaired driver. Students playing the parts of injured passengers included senior Allison Giroux and junior Peter Wernoff. Injured students along with the passengers of the second vehicle, CVU Faculty, Rahn Fleming and Mark Pogact were transported from the scene in ambulances while Carreiro remained covered by a white sheet for the duration of the demonstration. As the demonstration came to a close, Kelly was taken through a series of field sobriety test and arrested for driving while intoxicated, death resulting. The entire event was MC’d by Shelburne’s Officer Josh Flore, who reminded students that “motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15-20 year olds” and that they are in most cases preventable.
Following the outside demonstration, students gathered in the gym to hear Assistant Chief of the Shelburne Fire Dept. Jim Buell and Vermont State Firefighters Association and Green Mountain Critical Incident Stress De-Briefing team representative talk about what happens for emergency services personnel behind the scenes once crash victims are taken care of. When asked how many students in the audience had a friend or family member who was a volunteer in their local fire/rescue department and then how many of the emergency services personnel present worked in the same community they lived in or even attended CVU, the raised hands were staggering. “We help organize this event, just before prom in hopes of minimizing the number of times we will know the victims at the crash scenes we get called to. The Emergency Services Community is out to also enforce with the students the importance of making wise choices and not driving while impaired.  “Impaired not only includes drinking, but drugs, texting, and cell phone usage,” shared Jim Buell who has helped plan this event at CVU that has been taking place since 2004.
Connecting Youth and CVU would like to thank all of the people who made the event possible, from the many emergency services personnel, student and faculty volunteers, makeup artists, photographers, AV support, CY board members & volunteers and CVU staff and faculty. Thank you for taking the time and energy to showcase some of the ways in which we can all create a community that supports youth in making safe and healthy choices.
CY – Connecting Youth is a community based organization whose mission is to promote a culture that develops in our youth the power and conviction to make healthy choices. Our primary purpose is to encourage a “no-use” community norm around alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use by young people. Operating out of the Chittenden South Supervisory Union, CY serves the communities of Charlotte, Hinesburg, St. George, Shelburne, and Williston and is located online at www.seewhy.info and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/connectingyouth.

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