Mock Crash Sends Sobering Message at RHS

Mike Belmonte is placed on a stretcher.    photo by Veritas photographer Maddie Gear

Jasmin Morse, Veritas Web Editor

May 15, 2017

On the dreary, rainy morning of May 15, RHS had an emotional, eye opening, drunk driving crash simulation, put on in time for prom and graduation season.  This event occurred around 10 in the morning on MacKinlay Way. This arrangement was completely student-driven, mainly by the senior class in collaboration with principal, Mr. Harrison, along with Rockland Police and Fire Department, Magoun-Biggins Funeral Home, and Rockland Cares.

The morning started off with students coming in the auditorium as usual, smiling faces chatting with friends. Senior class vice president, Colleen McCarthy explained that this presentation’s purpose was to emphasize the importance of good decision-making during the exciting end of the year activities to come.

This was followed by a brief video to set the stage for the crash scene that was to follow. The video featured RHS students we all know and love, and was produced by Jessie Lutts and Shannon Lindahl with the help of WRPS.

Senior class president, Kaylee Patten starred in the video as the host of the party, which featured many juniors and seniors from the school. The video then cut to Sophie McLellan and boyfriend, Mike Belmonte who played the part of the responsible students who stayed home from the party.

Then in a series of inter-cuts we see: The couple decide to drive to the movies. Then, after too many drinks, Mike McPeck decides to go out driving with Kaylee Patten in the passenger seat, as well as Matthew O’Brien and Hannah Boben in the back seat.

After foolishly driving drunk and messing around, the car of party-goers crashes into the car of the innocent couple, which led the way to the crash scene.

As students filed out of the auditorium and outside to the front of the high school, they walked out to a horrendous scene: beer cans on the ground, Patten through the windshield, two collided cars and broken windshields splattered in blood. Then they heard the cries of McLellan trying to wake her unconscious boyfriend as Boben tried to wake Patten and McPeck tried to hide the evidence of their crime by throwing the empty beer cans under the car.

After much commotion, the hearse picks up Patten, McPeck and Patten’s father are put in cuffs, and ultimately everyone’s lives involved would be evidently changed from the accident.

As the events unfolded, it was evident that everyone was emotionally affected, from the actors, to the staff, and especially the students. Although everyone knew the crash was only a simulation, many people in the crowd had tears in their eyes, imagining many of their friends dead or distraught. It became evident to the crowd that the reality of the situation is so real that not only the cars were wrecked, but also their lives, and the lives of friends, family, and relationships of those in the cars.

Afterward followed an emotional debriefing back in the auditorium with Colleen McCarthy who hosted a panel discussion with the actors.

The mock drunk driving simulation was a somber, eye-opening experience for all involved. It reminded student the reality of the their decisions and how one can change their lives and everyone they love. The presentation hit home to all, in that you can say the event was a success and hopefully will stay with all the people it impacted in hopes to save a life.

The following students were involved in the production of the video and simulated crash:

  • Jaymie Atkins
  • Noelle Atkins
  • Michael Belmonte
  • Hannah Boben
  • Julia DiCienzo
  • Jeffre Donahue
  • Ryan Leavitt
  • Shannon Lindahl
  • Jessica Lutts
  • Colleen McCarthy
  • Brian McLaughlin
  • Sophie McLellan
  • Michael McPeck
  • Hannah Murphy
  • Matthew O’Brien
  • Alyssa Patten
  • Kaylee Patten
  • Shawn Ward
  • Kelsey Willett

We want to thank the following community partners who made this event possible:

  • Lou’s Autobody
  • Rockland Cares
  • Rockland Police Department
  • Rockland Fire Department
  • Magoun-Biggins Funeral Home
  • The Patten Family
  • Rockland Highway Department
  • Universal Autobody
  • WRPS

For photos of the event go here.

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