Editor’s Note: The photos included in this story realistically depict a deadly crash, which could be disturbing for some readers.
DRYDEN, N.Y. — Two bloodied teens argued at the scene of a faux crash Thursday afternoon — one pretended to be drunk, several were bloodied and crying out for help, and two were pronounced dead when first responders arrived at the demonstration.
During the demonstration, the dead students were laid out on stretchers in the parking lot of the high school, while their classmates were taken away in ambulances and one was airlifted to a hospital in a Gurthrie Air helicopter that landed in the bleachers behind students.
About 50 junior and senior students at Dryden High School watched the recreation of a deadly car crash near the school’s football field Thursday afternoon — a biannual demonstration to remind students of the dangers distracted and impaired driving. Officials said it’s especially important to remind teens of the dangers of irresponsible driving because students will be celebrating at prom Saturday and many of them will be graduating from high school soon.
“We have a vested interest in you guys, every single one of you,” New York State Police Trooper Dan Huff told the students.
He and trooper Joe Nelson, both Dryden residents, said they’ve been the one to knock on a door in the middle of the night to tell a person their son or daughter died in accident.
He said it’s the worst part of their job and completely preventable. And while the demonstration was geared toward teaching teens about about the dangers of drinking and driving, he said officers are also repeatedly dealing with accidents caused from people on their cell phones.
Kim Brown, administrative intern and physical education teacher, said district officials collaborate with local emergency personnel to put on the demonstration every other year, so students get the chance to see it once before they graduate. The shock of seeing classmates bloodied and pretending to be dead is meant, he said
Brown has worked at the Dryden Central School District for 12 years and said students or recently graduated students have died in car crashes just like the one depicted Thursday.
“Obviously it’s a shock,” he said. “You think about it — who it’s going to effect.”
Thursday’s event involved New York State Police, Dryden police, TC3 police, Guthrie 1 Helicopter and Perkins Funeral Home.
The following photos were taken by Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice.