KEYSER - Area emergency and law enforcement personnel conduct a mock DUI accident on the campus of Keyser High School.
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - "Two-vehicle accident with injuries. One priority 4. Alcohol involved."
Those were the words the upperclassmen at Keyser High School heard over the emergency radio Friday afternoon as they stood outside the gym doors to witness a lifelike mock DUI accident.
The "accident," involving two vehicles - one on its top - had been set up in the school parking lot as a sobering demonstration of the effects of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Five KHS students - Kayla Biddle, Daniel Braithwaite, Malik Harper, Ryan Streets and Lexi Taylor - had volunteered to portray the victims of the accident.
Streets, the "impaired driver," was taken away by officers from the Mineral County Sheriff's Office and West Virginia State Police, and submitted to a field sobriety test which proved that the young man had been driving under the influence.
Harper portrayed the injured passenger in Streets' car.
The second car, which had overturned, had Taylor at the wheel. Made up with realistic blood on her face, she sprawled halfway out of the car and was declared "dead" at the scene. Her passengers, Biddle and Braithwaite, had to be cut out of the car and taken away in awaiting ambulances.
The entire exercise took a little over an hour as fire and rescue personell went about their work as if the accident were real.
Taylor was even placed in a body bag before being taken from the scene.
At the end, the students were told accidents like the demonstration they had just witnessed, "happen every day when people go out and drink or smoke or do pills and then decide to drive."
Among those participating in the exercise were: The New Creek Volunteer Fire Department and EMS, Keyser Volunteer Fire Department, Keyser EMS, Valley Medical, Mineral County sheriff Jeremy Taylor and several deputies, West Virginia State Police, medical examiner Chris Guynn, and KHS PRO officer Forrest Ellifritz.