Jenks students see consequences of drinking, driving at prom-safety event
BY KIM ARCHER World Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
4/18/12 at 7:47 AM
JENKS - Although Thomas Yarbrough isn't going to the prom this weekend, he doesn't want to get in a traffic accident with one of his peers who does and then decides to drink and drive.
"This is excellent," Yarbrough, 18, said of Jenks High School's eighth annual It's Your Choice Senior Prom Event held Tuesday outside the school.
"It tells the people going to prom not to be idiots," Yarbrough said.
Jenks' prom is Saturday.
During Tuesday's event, EMSA paramedics, Jenks police officers and firefighters, Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers, and even a funeral home director set up stations to give students information about safety and to deter them from drinking or taking drugs and driving.
"We want to make them see they really do have a choice about their behavior," said Paula Lau, the school's student assistance program coordinator. "If they do choose to drink and drive, we want them to hear about what the consequences will be."
In the eight years the district has held the event, there have been no deaths at Jenks High School during the prom, Lau said.
"We don't know if this is why, but we hope it does play a role in the decisions students make on prom night," she said.
Most of the school's 714 seniors participated in the event.
Small groups of students moved from station to station. At each station, paramedics, firefighters, police officers and others shared stories of drunken-driving accidents they had worked.
"There is nothing more heartbreaking than finding a beautiful young girl in a prom dress dead on the side of the road after a drunk-driving accident," Lau said.
Three Jenks police officers used "drunk goggles" to show students how drinking impairs them.
Two others operated a simulator to illustrate how a seat belt can keep a vehicle's occupant from falling out and being crushed in a rollover accident.
Torrence Reed, 18, said the simulator surprised him.
"You can go 30 miles per hour and still flip over your car. I didn't know that," he said. "One little seat belt can save your life."
Jenks firefighters brought a crashed car to show how they extract victims from a vehicle when they are pinned inside.
Dan Schaudt, a funeral director who owns Schaudt Funeral Service in Glenpool, told students that death can take a person who is 18 or 88.
"If you think you're invincible, you're not. If you choose to drink or do drugs and drive, nine times out of 10 you will end up right here," he said, pointing to the casket he brought in his hearse.
Schaudt told the story of a high school student who chose to attend a party with her best friend.
"She made the poor decision to drink," he said. "She made the fatal decision to get in a vehicle drunk with her friend."
The girls ended up driving fast on the wrong side of the highway and hitting a truck head-on, Schaudt said.
When he was helping the family plan the funeral, they brought him a photograph of the girl.
"The girl in the photograph didn't resemble the body lying in the embalming room," he said, adding that every bone in her face was crushed, the roof of her mouth was split in two and bones were sticking out through her skin.
"I had to tell the family the casket would have to be closed and they would not get to see their daughter for the last time," Schaudt said. "They just couldn't understand."
Original Print Headline: Sobering lesson
Kim Archer 918-581-8315
Dan Schaudt of Schaudt's Funeral Service in Glenpool (left, with back to camera) tells Jenks seniors Ruth Kim (facing camera, from left), Rachel Leonard, Sam Laptad, Alaina Holtquist and Alex Mortensen about the sometimes permanent consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs - or riding with someone who is - during Tuesday's It's Your Choice Senior Prom Event at Jenks High School. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
Jenks firefighter Chris Lester lies in the trunk of a vehicle with firefighter Matt Tumleson nearby to simulate a rescue as Jenks High School seniors watch during the It's Your Choice Senior Prom Event on Tuesday at the school. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
Jenks High School students watch firefighter Matt Tumleson break a windshield on a car to simulate a rescue. The It's Your Choice Senior Prom Event on Tuesday at the school encourages students not to drink or take drugs and then drive. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
Dan Schaudt of Schaudt's Funeral Service in Glenpool speaks to Jenks seniors Tuesday during the It's Your Choice Senior Prom Event at Jenks High School. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World