Fillmore Central senior Danielle Zinsmaster stands with her mother, Janet Christianson, during a special time where the parents expressed their joy that the crash was only a mock crash. BRETTA GRABAU/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPER GROUP
Fillmore Central senior Danielle Zinsmaster stands with her mother, Janet Christianson, during a special time where the parents expressed their joy that the crash was only a mock crash. BRETTA GRABAU/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPER GROUP
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Following the mock crash held in Harmony on Friday, May 16, several members of the response teams and the four Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) leaders dramatizing the crash and their parents gathered at the Fillmore Central High School for a brief Celebration of Life ceremony.

At the beginning of the ceremony, Fillmore County Public Health Educator Brenda Pohlman recapped the scenario of the mock accident enacted earlier that day.

After smoking marijuana at a spring party and cruising down the road at 70 miles per hour, the four teens decided to take a Snap Chat photo and ran off the road, hitting a telephone pole. Two students were dead in the scenario, as they had not been wearing seat belts, one became a paraplegic though she was strapped in and one was charged with a felony, was serving time in jail and fined.

"Crashes involve memories and pieces left behind," Pohlman said after showing the Snap Chat the teens took seconds before the accident.

Bethany Zrucky thanked the responders and all those who participated in the mock crash.

"We wanted to make known the obvious repercussions of the choices you make can effect you the rest of your life. You have unlimited potential," she remarked.

The parents of the four student actors gave their children flowers and spoke about how glad they are their kids and are still alive today. As Kaitlynn Aug's parents were not present, SADD adviser Vicki Nelson thanked Aug for her work in SADD and spoke of how proud she was of the students.

Danielle Zinsmaster's stepfather, Troy Christianson, was present as the state trooper.

"This is the time of year for fatal accidents because of graduation and most of those who are killed are passengers, not the drivers," he stated. "Speed, distracted driving, drunk driving and driving under the influence of controlled substances all contribute to these accidents."

Pohlman rounded out the celebration thanking all the responders who participated from Fountain, Preston and Harmony and for their work every day to keep the community safe. Afterward, the students were able to ask questions of the emergency responders of some of the scenes they have worked.

The mock crash and celebration of life did make an impact with many of the students.

"It was pretty realistic. It taught us deaths can occur to us. It made me want to wear seatbelts even more," stated Fillmore Central student Angelica Tarrence.

"In a school this small, even one accident like that will keep people talking for five years. The mock crash made me want to be much safer in the car and not do those things," commented Mercedes Labonne.

Seeing the crash also forced unpleasant memories to the forefront.

"It made me think of when my brother got in an accident while texting. A girl was in the car and neither had their seat belts on. The girl was thrown out of the car," Kaitlyn Hanson shared.

Watching a mock crash can be emotionally draining enough, but thinking that something like this can happen in reality can be traumatic for the students. Many realized that living in such a rural county and a long way from the nearest hospital, every second counts. Many realized that life is precious.

Others vowed to make good and thoughtful decisions while driving. As the day's activities demonstrated, lives may depend on it.