It's dangerous out there: Mock car crash staged to show students the hazards

Rantoul firefighters tend to the injured who were involved in a mock car crash outside Rantoul Township High School Thursday. The mock crashes are staged every other year the week before prom.

RANTOUL — The blood wasn’t real, and neither were the injuries or the vehicle damage. But Rantoul Township High School students got a chance to see a little of what happens in a traffic accident Thursday afternoon.

Police and fire officials were among those who spoke to students after a mock car crash staged in front of the school.

The mock crash is staged every other year for juniors and seniors who plan to attend prom.

Students were treated for their “injuries” and removed from the scene by ambulance.

Emergency personnel from Rantoul Fire and Police departments, Pro Ambulance and Coroner Duane Northrup were on the scene.

Reynolds Towing brought two vehicles to be used, “and we smashed them up some more, and we had all four students inside the vehicles,” Fire Chief Ken Waters said.

When students exited the school, they saw the car wreck scene with injuries.

The fire and police departments were toned out and responded “like it was the real thing,” RTHS School Resource Officer Kurtis Buckley said.

Ambulances also arrived.

One student was partially ejected through the front window. All of the students were made up with moulage, which simulates injuries. Firefighters worked to extricate a student.

In the scenario, a car driven by a drunken driver was involved in a wreck with another vehicle, killing a passenger. The deceased person was pronounced dead by Northrup and placed in a body bag.

Waters said students viewing the scene appeared to give it the attention it deserved.

“I think they pretty much took it seriously” and listened to what the speakers had to say, he said.

Police did a field sobriety test on one “driver,” and arrested the student.

Accident victims were students Bria Connelly, Simon Walker, Ocean Beard and Victor Bradley.

Rantoul Fire Capt. Dean McMorris, Buckley and Beard spoke to the students.

“The message we convey is ‘smart choices,’” Buckley said. “We’re not invincible. We all can be subject to poor decisions in our life, and the rest of your life is not guaranteed for anybody.”

Buckley said the No. 1 cause of traffic injuries or death is distracted driving.

The person who is killed or injured might not be the driver who is looking at his cell phone or checking how his hair looks in the mirror.

“It might not be you” who is hurt or killed, Buckley said. “You may be driving absolutely perfectly, but it may be the other person” who causes the wreck.

Buckley said one of the worst parts of his job as a police officer is having to tell parents their child has been killed “in a senseless accident.”

Last year’s, mock crash was cancelled due to bad weather.

In the years when the mock crash is not staged, RTHS brings in speakers the week of prom. Past speakers have included Judge Jeffrey Ford, former Chief Deputy Allen Jones Jr., a Carle Hospital emergency room nurse and a mother

who lost her daughter in an accident.