FAIRFIELD, Conn. - In what to many looked like a real fatal accident, the Fairfield police and fire departments put on their annual mock trial in front of students from both Fairfield Warde and Ludlowe High Schools last week.
Held twice every year for nearly a decade, the mock accident placed at the front entrances of each school the week of junior prom serves as a reminder to be safe, Assistant Fire Chief Chris Tracey said.
On Thursday,m the students at Fairfield Warde had their mock accident, and on Friday the students at Fairfield Ludlowe saw theirs.
The accident involved two wrecked cars, with people spilling out of the vehicles as police, fire and ambulances responded.
Several people driving by express concern, calling police to report an accident at the high school.
One resident said that when she drove by the Ludlowe scene Friday, she wasn't sure whether it was the mock trial or whether it was real because of the serious demeanor of the first responders.
The mock accident was under the direction of guidance counselors Timothy Morris at Ludlowe and Stephanie Swist at Warde, along with students who rehearsed their roles for several weeks for the mock accidents.
At Warde on Thursday and Ludlowe on Friday, guest speakers took to the microphone before students were shown the mock accidents, to offer first-hand experiences of the hazards of driving under the influence and about the ongoing repercussions to countless lives.
Teens watched silently as the student actors called in the emergency, attempted to help one another, and interacted with Fairfield Police and Fire officers and firefighters, American Medical Response paramedics and EMTs, as they performed their duties at the simulated accident.
One driver was "arrested" and taken away in handcuffs, while passengers were extricated by fire personnel using hydraulic tools. Others were removed by long board and stretcher to waiting ambulances, which pulled away from the scene. Students watched as one victim was placed in the back of a black van from Lesko Polke Funeral Home, which served as the state medical examiner dispatched for the victim "killed."
After hearing closing remarks, the juniors filed quietly into their auditoriums, where administrators and participants in the Mock Crash spoke about what they had seen and done.
What these mock accidents do, said Tracey, is help to ensure that the type of accident seen at the front of the schools won't happen by drilling in the importance of safe driving practices and behaviors.