A simulated, fatal crash today at Centennial High School was designed to drive home a message to juniors and seniors that it is unsafe to drive while drinking and/or distracted. The simulation is part of a two-day event called Arrive Alive and is focused on challenging teens to think about drinking, driving, personal safety, the responsibility of making mature decisions and the impact their decisions have on family, friends and the community. Teens saw first-hand the emergency responders at work after the crash happened, as well as the emotion and horror that accompanies a fatality.
“Arrive Alive is about the community coming together, volunteering their time and services to teach our children to make good choices that will save lives,” said Centennial High School Principal Tom Breuning.
“The simulation took the collaboration of many partners, all working together to ensure a healthy and safe community,” said City of Blaine Police Chief Chris Olson. “An impaired or distracted driver not only harms themselves but can have a devastating impact on other drivers on the road, their families and the overall community,” he added.
"By far, for my husband and myself, this was the most amazing event involving our son in high school. The impact on the Centennial community was far reaching. Parents and students contacted us for months following the program, to share the emotional effect that the program had on their children and families,” said Renee Ludwig, a parent of one of the teens who died in the 2015 simulation. “I would recommend parents sit with their teens and watch this program to open up communication about the responsibilities of teen drivers.”
Centennial ISD 12, Blaine Police Department, Lino Lakes Police Department, Centennial Lakes Police Department, local hospitals, emergency medical responders, schools, businesses, and service clubs were involved in the simulation.
The simulation included a 9-1-1 call that triggered an emergency response by law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, a medical helicopter and the county coroner. Each agency involved (Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Department, Allina Medical Transportation, Life Link III, Mercy Hospital, Anoka County Central Communications) used the drill as a training exercise to simulate real-life responses.
In the simulation, paramedics treated several students for minor injuries. A seriously injured student, was standing up through the sun roof, is pronounced dead and removed from the scene by a funeral director from Mueller-Bies funeral home. The second student was not wearing her seatbelt, crashed through the windshield, and is taken by Allina ambulance to Mercy Hospital where she dies. The third student is arrested for drunk driving and Criminal Vehicular Operation for killing the other students.
Other activities included taking the arrested drivers to jail; transporting the critically injured patient to a local trauma center where doctors simulate attempts to save her life; a doctor notifying parents of a child’s untimely death; organ procurement team members discussing the option of organ donation. Meanwhile, the student who died on-scene is placed in a body bag and taken to the mortuary where a family member can identify the body.
Day two of the simulation, scheduled for Wednesday, April 12, includes a mock funeral assembly for the two students who were killed and the reading of letters written to family by students involved as if they had died. Speakers include Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo and a representative from MADD, who will talk about her story and the tragic death of her father, a victim of a drunk driver.