Madison Doyle, story and photos:
Today at the Edmonson County Fairgrounds, the EC Youth Services Center hosted a mock car crash for juniors and seniors attending Edmonson County prom. This event is a staged car crash where several EC students are portrayed to be severely hurt, or even deceased. It serves as a reminder to the students to be safe and smart behind the wheel.
"We host this every other year for our kids going to prom," said Morgan Esters from the Youth Services Center. "This year instead of drinking and driving, our theme is vaping because it's a bigger issue than alcohol is in our school system. Two of our students in the crash will have a vape that is laced with fentanyl, which caused the accident," she stated. "A lot of the kids in the crowd probably just think this is a show, and that's okay. If we can help even just one single student decide to be safe and not do this, I feel like we have done our job."
Acting in today's scene were students Noah Parsley, who was 'driving under the influence' due to a vape pen which was laced Evan Stice, also under the influence, and also Ryley Jones, Makaylee Thompson, Wade Lutrell, Landon Meredith, and Jarett Prunty, who were all 'victims' of Parsley's reckless decision.
Keith Sanders Director of Edmonson EMS addressed the crowd.
"As emergency personnel, we get calls about drinking and driving, distracted driving, but today these guys were hitting vape pens that were laced, and we lost four young people," he started. "This is a small place, so when we pull up to these scenes we're praying it's not somebody we know, but a lot of the time it is. We don't want this to be you all."
Sanders encouraged the students to have fun at prom, but told them "you can have fun and be safe at the same time."
Sheriff Shane Doyle also addressed those in attendance. "I back up everything Keith said. We really want to make an impact so you don't find yourself in this situation," he said. "This situation wasn't an accident, it was negligence. It was a bad choice that lead to a terrible situation and they happen all the time." He said that although today's scene was just acting, it was still very difficult to process, and he told the students to try to imagine what happens when it's not acting.
Doyle thanked the students for their attention during the event, and also thanked the Youth Services Center and other emergency personnel in attendance.
Deputy Jordan Jones, who portrayed a distraught father as his daughter, Rylee, was "pronounced deceased" also addressed the crowd. "I have been in about three of these, and this one was the hardest. When I got that phone call from my daughter saying 'Daddy come help me', it sent cold chills through my body," he said emotionally. "I'm used to people for calling me for help, it's my job. I don't wanna get the phone call to come help any of you all in this kind of situation. I want you to have fun, but do it in a safe and responsible way," Jones said.
Responding to the simulated emergency were the Chalybeate and Brownsville Fire Departments, Kyrock Jaws, Edmonson County EMS, Air Methods Emergency Helicopter, Brownsville City Police, Edmonson County Sheriff's Office and Edmonson County Dispatch.