Widgets Magazine

Jun 11, 2011

Don't Drive Stupid

I got a text from the Drama Queen about 4:30 today. "…they’re having an awesome drunk driving demo in the Smith’s parking lot. You guys should come. There’ll be helicopters and everything." Well, who could resist a text like that? Not me…and apparently not Bossy either. We both pulled in at the same time. 
They were still setting up as we strolled across the parking lot. There were various police cars and a trailer with what looked like two carnival cars on it. They had a couple of tables with the proverbial literature and free pens. A woman in a Zero Fatalities shirt was handing out string backpacks and an occasional t-shirt (Princess got one!). I guess she looked like a prospective driver. (I can’t believe it’s only a few more months!) 

 As we rounded the tables I saw the cars. They were placed strategically in the parking lot so they looked like they were in an actual accident. Both were covered with broken glass as if they were simply waiting for a tow truck. We wandered around and the kids took their turn in the "carnival ride." It really simulated what a 5-mph crash would feel like. I think Scout and Taco were the most surprised as they jostled in the seats. 

 Back at the crash site they were preparing for the big event, and by the time we walked back over, the victims were in place. There were five real teenagers involved in the "accident." We happened to know one of them and that made it even more personal. One girl was lying on the ground, covered in fake blood. A boy appeared to have been thrown through the windshield. The driver of that car was sitting behind the wheel. She also had a passenger in the backseat. The boy in the other car was supposed to be stuck behind the wheel of his car. 

As we stood about 20 feet away, the sirens suddenly went off and the ambulance raced to the scene. A paramedic vehicle followed right behind. Curly was terrified and I pulled him up into my arms. Gamer reached for him and put him up on his shoulders. I placed a protective arm around Scout and reached for Sport’s hand. Bossy made similar moves with her kids. The paramedics jumped from their vehicles and began attending to the "victims." Cars along the road bunched up, with drivers craning their necks to see what was going on. Never in my life had I been so close to that kind of action! Even though I knew it was all pretend, tears crowded my eyes as they threw a sheet over the girl on the ground and then another one over the boy on the hood of the car. 
 A policeman pulled out the female driver and administered the sobriety test. She failed miserably and was eventually handcuffed and placed in a squad car. A couple of paramedics used the "jaws of life" to rip the doors off the car and extricate the driver of the second vehicle. Suddenly a woman ran from the crowd as if she were the mother of one of the victims. It was terrifying to watch her break down, realizing that this kind of accident could have involved my kids. 
Suddenly we heard the LifeFlight helicopter. It circled once and then landed right there in the parking lot. The wind threw small rocks at us because we were so close. We huddled with the kids until the blades stopped chopping. The paramedics loaded one of the victims onto a back-board, and wheeled him to the helicopter. The winds picked up again as it quickly took off. We just stood there, looking at each other. Some random grandma gave Sport a hug. I was stunned at my own reaction. It brought back imagined images of my own little Princess being loaded into a helicopter just like that one. It also brought up another image of Gym Rat who took a similar ride. I’ll tell you that story tomorrow. 

**Editor's Note:  Silly Mom, she wasn't even around when Princess was loaded onto LifeFlight. (Mom said: That doesn't mean I haven't seen that scene a thousand times in my head.) I remember it clearly.  As the helicopter landed it blew all the fresh snow from the rooftops and lawns onto the street.  A man-made blizzard.  I remember watching the perfect whiteness fall and knowing that everything was going to be okay.  And then the bright red helicopter jolted me back to reality and I saw tiny Princess looking like a doll on the adult-sized board.  Even knowing today was a staged training and demonstration I had a large lump in my throat watching that teen loaded into the helicopter.  I am glad I have several years before my boys learn to drive.

Thank you Smith's, local law enforcement, MADD, SLCO Health Department, Utah Highway Patrol, and the city council for putting on a great event! 


RonJoe 'Geezer' said...

These kind of events are great! I drove a semi truck around the Los Angeles area for over 35 years and witnessed several alcohol related accident. I am a big supporter of MADD :-)

MissMommy said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. A good friend of mine was killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver 10 years ago.
It sounds like a wonderful event, really bringing the realities of drunk driving out. Thanks for posting this.

Shell said...

Wow. Hopefully some of the people watching really took this to heart.

Mrs. C said...

What a great event! They are for a great cause! Have a great weekend.


Julie Harward said...

Everyone need to attend something like this, what a lot if great information. :D

PRINCESS said...

Bossy and I thought we saw one of the girls at the car wash, well it didn't turn out to be her, but it was really fun looking at her face as we tried to explain what we were talking about.

tammy said...

Wow. What a powerful demo that had to have been. I wish more could see it.


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