“I was driving and I was drinking and texting behind the bus and I tried to pass the bus and there was a logging truck coming the other way and I didn’t make it,” Forest Park High School senior Kaitlyn Bradley said. “I went to pull back into the lane and I hit the bus and the bus rolled and we rolled.”
This decision affected the lives of 22 people, with 17 being injured and five deceased. The five who passed away were the bus driver, three students inside the bus and a teen from the car in this mock crash scenario set up by Iron County Emergency Service organizations.
“Everyone in the county participated, it couldn’t happen without them,” NorthSTAR EMS manager Tom Bucek said. “If it were real, if it really happened, how would we handle it and how would we do it.”
Today’s exercise was a teaching exercise for students and a great piece of training for emergency response teams. Although this accident was fake, officials say no amount of training in the world will prepare you to tell someone that a loved one is gone.
“They need to know that when they do something, they are adults now and there are consequences,” Bucek said. “Driving is a huge responsibility. Think about it when you pick up your cell phone or drinking and driving. Things like this do happen and it could be them.”
Students from West Iron County High School, Forest Park High School and even some home-schooled students were in attendance and seemed to take the lessons learned to heart.
“Not being careful can hurt more than just yourself, it can end up hurting a lot of people, it’s a big lesson,” Bradley said. “It felt real and even though I knew it wasn’t real, I just can’t imagine causing this much damage just from one stupid move. It was scary; it was definitely scary.”
The planning for this elaborate car crash hoax started late last year and officials say it was well worth the effort.