Mock crash

Grand Rapids High School (GRHS) and local law enforcement agencies teamed up to present a mock crash for high school students on the morning of Tuesday, May 22. Well-known author and speaker, Craig Hillier, spoke to students prior to the mock crash.

Hillier has spoken to more than two million people and focused on three key elements in his presentation to the GRHS students—resilience, respect and responsibility. Sharing a variety of stories from his own life, Hillier brought a high level of energy into the Reif Center as he inspired the audience to have their own “breakthrough” moment.

“Your decisions determine your direction,” Hillier told the students.

Following the guest speaker, 800 high school students made their way to the scene of the mock crash located on 14th Street NW approaching the school. There, student actors portrayed a head-on collision involving a drunk driver and his passenger who hit a vehicle with two females. The male passenger riding with the drunk driver had gone through the front windshield of the vehicle and did not survive the crash. The females in the other vehicle could not be reached and a “Jaws of Life” tool had to be used to open the car in order to assist them. Then, one female was taken with Meds 1 while the other’s extensive injuries required that she be brought to Duluth via the Life Link III helicopter. The helicopter flew into the area and landed near the GRHS baseball field. Meanwhile, the drunk driver failed to pass a sobriety test and was consequently arrested with felony charges by the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office. The scene concluded with the deceased passenger being taken away by Rowe Funeral Home. (A reminder that the previously described scene was a part of a mock crash presented at GRHS.)

Local agencies that were a part of the day’s events included the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD), the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office, Meds 1, Grand Rapids Fire Department, Life Link III, Search and Rescue, Grand Rapids Police Reserves, Minnesota State Patrol, A1 Driving School, Right-Way Driving School, Itasca County Toward Zero Deaths, Itasca County Attorney’s Office, Rowe Funeral Home, Libby Funeral Home and the Grand Rapids High School Captains Council.

GRPD Officer Greg Lease, police liaison to GRHS, organized the mock crash along with many others. Some of these people included Roger Clark with Search and Rescue, Marlyn Halvorson with the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office, Principal of GRHS Mark Schroeder, and Jim Cagle who helped organize the student actors for the mock crash scene. Lease added that there were many others who helped behind the scenes, as well.

“I think it went well,” Lease said. “I’m hearing that it was well received from the students.”

Lease hopes the extensive time and effort needed to put together a presentation such as a mock crash is worth it in the end.

“I think with kids, visual usually sinks into more people than just sitting at a presentation alone,” Lease said. “Whatever we can do to deep-seat memories might be the way to hopefully stop any bad decisions made in the future.”

Additionally, local law enforcement agencies hope to continue making a positive impact as they make connections with the community.

“This is just another one of those way,” Lease said. “If we can become a little more a part of the fabric of the community, then that’s what we want to do.”

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