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First responders conduct mock accident for DHS students about consequences of texting and driving

Dickinson High School students learned about the consequences of texting and driving on Wednesday afternoon during a car crash demonstration in the DHS parking lot.

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Dickinson first responders conduct a mock accident demonstration for students in the Dickinson High School parking lot on Wednesday afternoon. (Press Photo by Sydney Mook)

Dickinson High School students learned about the consequences of texting and driving on Wednesday afternoon during a car crash demonstration in the DHS parking lot.

The demonstration involved a scenario where a driver had been texting while driving, and then crossed the centerline and hit an oncoming vehicle near the Coca-Cola plant along Highway 22.

During the demonstration, first responders played audio of what a real emergency call would sound like.

Riley Howard, an emergency medical technician with the Dickinson Ambulance Service, said  he wanted to do everything they could to make the demonstration as powerful as they could.

“We are just trying to make this campaign as impactful as we can," Howard said.

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First responders, including the Dickinson police and fire departments, the North Dakota Highway Patrol and the Valley Med Flight helicopter crew, then went on to respond to the accident just as they would any other call.

In the demonstration, the driver of the striking vehicle walked away with minor injuries, but was arrested for manslaughter after the crash killed the passenger in the other vehicle. The passenger in the striking vehicle suffered severe injuries and was taken away by ambulance to CHI St. Alexius Health in Dickinson. The driver of the other vehicle also suffered severe injuries and would be flown by helicopter to the nearest trauma unit in Bismarck.

Howard emphasized to students that a decision to text while driving can have an impact on not only their life, but the lives of others as well.

“This just goes to show just how quickly lives and anyone else’s life can be affected by distracted driving,” Howard told the students after the simulation. “... One text or call could wreck it all and it’s very true, just ask any family members who have been affected by that.”

Dawson Dutchak, a 17-year-old junior at DHS, found the scenario to be very powerful.

“I just thought it was pretty impactful and just how relatable it can be,” Dutchak said. “It can happen to anybody at any time.”

Following the demonstration, the family of Janae Moore spoke to students. Moore was a member of the Dickinson State University women’s basketball team and was killed on July 10, 2013, just miles away from her home near Sidney, Mont. She was later determined to have been texting while driving.

Jozi Moore, Janae’s sister, recounted the events of that day and said she hoped the students would realize that an accident involving texting and driving doesn’t just affect one person, but every other person who knows them as well.

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She said her sister was incredibly smart and athletic, but she was sometimes stubborn -- especially when it came to texting and driving. Jozi Moore said she wanted students to be able to learn from her sister’s mistake.

“I want you to remember her as someone smart enough to know better than to pick up her phone,” Jozi Moore said. “All of you deserve the chance to learn from Janae’s mistake.”

Dutchak said he believes seeing the scenario will help people and students in particular think twice before they pick up their phone while they’re driving.

“A lot of people don’t realize how big of a deal this is and when you see it out in front of you it becomes real,” he said.


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