Darren Doyle, story and photos:
ECHS hosted it's regular mock crash today at the Edmonson County Fairgrounds, in conjunction with Edmonson EMS and other local emergency personnel. The event is a staged car crash that involves ECHS students where at least one or more students is critically injured or killed.
In today's staged event, three ECHS students died while one was severely injured.
"The benefits of working in Edmonson County, you know everybody, but you know the disadvantages to working in Edmonson County? You know everybody," said EMS Director Keith Sanders as he addressed the student body. "When you work something like this, it hits home because chances are, you're going to know who it is. We want to emphasize that we want you to make good decisions because we do not ever want to have to do this in real life with you all."
Sanders own son, Jarrod, an ECHS senior, was an actor in the scenario and was "critically injured."
Usually focused on drinking and driving, today's scene was instead aimed toward using social media while driving. The driver of one car, senior Hunter Ashley, acted as though he was using Snapchat while driving, which caused the wreck that "killed" junior Morgan Graham, and seniors Hannah Meredith and Keely Doyle.
Keely's mother, Holli Doyle, was also an actor today as she portrayed the distraught mother seeing the horrors unfold.
"It seemed so real, that it was like I was really in the part, not just acting the part," said Keely. "It was really scary, honestly."
Ashley discussed the impact the scene had on him:
"It felt really real, especially after all the paramedics, sheriff's office, city police, got there. I got a little tore up there. It was really eye-opening experience."
Sheriff Shane Doyle also addressed students today.
"A cell phone seems pretty harmless, and just about every good kid has used a cell phone while driving. Don't do that, guys," he said. "Because in this situation, had it been real, and we tried to make it as real as we could, Hunter would be looking at life in prison on three different counts of murder."
Morgan Esters, Youth Services Center Coordinator for Edmonson County Schools, said months of planning and tons of resources are needed in order to put on the event.
"We're hoping this will be the most impactful one we've had yet," she said.
Dozens of people were involved in the making of today's crash and all of it was for one purpose: to get teens to think twice about using a device while driving.
"Make good decisions behind the wheel," said Director Sanders. "Put your phone behind you where you can turn it off or put it where you can't reach it. If somebody calls you and you have to answer it, or answer a text, pull off the side of the road somewhere. Pull somewhere safely where you can stop before you pull that phone up."
Also acting in the scene today were Petie Tarrantino, who is an actual firefighter with Chalybeate VFD and senior Spencer Bass.
Emergency personnel were: Edmonson EMS, Edmonson County Sheriff, Brownsville Police, Chalybeate VFD, Edmonson County JAWS, Edmonson County Emergency Management, and Edmonson County Dispatch.