Crash and learn

Every 53 minutes on average, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash, according to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving website.

The Eureka community came together to bring that statistic to life with Drunk-U-Drama, an event where students get to witness a simulated drunk-driving accident and its aftermath, April 4.

Dr. Johnathon White, junior principal,  helped organize the event along with Eureka’s fire departmen, police and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Students filed out of the building into the parking lot where they happened upon two mangled cars that appeared to have just collided. The bright sun shone on a a bloody female form sprawled out on the hood of one car: Paige Ondr (12) unmoving.

“Drunk-U-Drama’s purpose is to highlight the dangers of drunk-driving,” Dr. White said. “Ultimately the purpose is to show our students in a very timely fashion a visual of a drunk-driving accident with fatalities.”

Eureka police officers spoke at the event, as well as Mr. Brian Buchholz, a parent who lost his only daughter to a drunk driver acident in 2007.

Mr. Buchholz’s speech resonated with the audience.

“It was really emotional and sad, and I can’t imagine what he went through,” Elena Bloma (11) said. “It really touched me.”

The still, bloodied bodies laying in the sun, unscored his words.

“To see the accident process and everything that happens defientely made it feel more real,” Sarah Kueneke (11) said.

One of those wounded bodies was Nick Vogl (11), chosen by his theatre teacher, Mrs. Allmendinger, to participate in Drunk-U-Drama.

“It was a really cool experience, in general. It was fun being with my friends, but it was also very real,” Vogl said. “I thought it was great that we do that at this school to show students and keep everyone safe before prom.”

The event was more than just a simulation.

“It’s really important to me because it’s something that’s been in my family,” Hanna Reinkemeyer, actor playing a dead student, said. “I felt super attached to it. I think it’s so, so, so important that all the juniors and seniors saw it.”

Dr. White hopes that students will learn something from Drunk-U-Drama.

“Students at minimum get to see fellow students in a situation, even though it’s a mock simulation, in the car and see that student get pushed away or taken away in handcuffs,” Dr. White said. “Hopefully there’s no misconception that that is reality, and those things do happen: people do get killed, people do die, people do go to jail. There’s a lot of tragedy. There’s a lot of heartache in situations that happen like that, and using our own students helps enforce that.”