A simulated, fatal crash today at Centennial High School is designed to drive home the message to its juniors and seniors that it is unsafe to drive while texting, drinking or being 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.
“We started Arrive Alive, our attentive driving and anti-drinking and driving message, in 2009. I am proud of the
proactive message we have given to a generation of students. On a regular basis, former students and community
members will tell me how powerful the Arrive Alive message has been to them,” said Centennial High School Principal Tom Breuning.
“Drinking and distracted driving can and does destroy lives. In Blaine, we are committed to putting an end to the
tragedies that occur as a result of dangerous behaviors. The Minnesota legislature recognized this and has also passed
new legislation making hands free technology utilization the only option on our roads, effective this coming August 1st.
This powerful presentation was aimed at helping our youth learn to make safe choices when driving,” said Blaine Police Chief Brian Podany.
“Having worked in law enforcement for over 20 years, I have seen, firsthand, the impact that impaired and distracted
driving has on families. The visual and emotional impact the Arrive Alive program brings, hopefully will deter these
students from getting in that car with an impaired driver or picking up that phone to answer a text. Having my child
directly involved in the scenario adds an additional layer of emotion. Tragedy can happen to any family. It does not
discriminate. I applaud the efforts of the Centennial School District and the Blaine Police Department for their
commitment to this program. This event will hopefully change behavior and save lives!” said Jeff Ramacher, father of a Centennial High School student.
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 A 9-1-1 call triggers an emergency response by law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and a medical helicopter. Each agency uses 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 having been hit by a drunk driver receives life-saving medical aid and is removed from the scene by an ambulance and taken to Unity hospital where he dies. The family of that student is present and notified by the doctor at the hospital of their child’s passing. The second student dies on scene after being thrown through a windshield following a head-on collision caused by a driver who was distracted by their cell phone. That student is then pronounced dead and picked up by Mueller-Bies funeral home. The third student is arrested for drunk driving and taken to jail. The fourth student, who was distracted behind the wheel while on their phone, is also arrested.
Juniors and seniors at Centennial High School will gather for day two of the simulation on April 24. The event 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 on the second day of the assembly include Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo, Blaine Police Chief Brian Podany, and MADD speaker, Gina Calistro.