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Hartselle Enquirer

Students make Prom Promise

Emergency workers depict a tragic crash scene during Falkville’s Prom Promise presentation. | Courtesy of Matt Stiles
Emergency workers depict a tragic crash scene during Falkville’s Prom Promise presentation. | Courtesy of Matt Stiles

Matt Stiles
Special to the Enquirer

On March 7 at 10:09 a.m., an E-911 page out summons Falkville Fire Department’s Engine 1, County EMS ambulances and Falkville police patrol cars to South Park on Culver Road in Falkville.

Upon arriving, they were confronted with a devastating two-vehicle accident.

Police Chief Chris Free observes the following: a young man is running from one of the cars; a young female passenger shows signs of having serious injuries; and another female passenger is screaming and crying. A young male driver of the second vehicle is also severely injured.

It’s a familiar scene for any veteran police officer, firefighter or ambulance driver. Perhaps, the only difference is this is a mock accident for Prom Promise, a prelude to the Falkville High School prom, which is scheduled for the coming weekend.

According to their website, Prom Promise was started in 1990 with the purpose of combating underage drinking. Falkville Police Sgt. Lynn Dean coordinated the event and Falkville High students, well dressed in prom attire, were the participants. Their goal was to show their fellow students, in graphic detail, what could happen when impaired drivers take to the road.

The injuries are simulated, of course, but the emotions are all too real.

Also arrived on the scene is the shocked and grieving “Mom,” played by real mom Terry Smith. Her daughter is one of the passengers in one of the wrecked vehicles, playing the role of a “DOA” victim.

Seated on the temporary bleachers at the park are FHS’s juniors and seniors. They are watching the chaos and commotion with undivided attention. Peck Funeral Home’s hearse and a helicopter crew from Med One in Danville have joined emergency responders to assist and transport accident victims. The groundwork for another life’s lesion has been laid.

This annual event has grown into a multi-agency approach to reminding teenagers that it’s not worth the risk to drink and drive.

District #3 commissioner Don Stisher is taking photos to share with those involved. Standing next to him are FHS principal Glenn Lang and assistant principal Keith Wilemon. They are discussing the temptations an adversities their student face every day. Morgan County Coroner Jeff Chunn is on the scene doing his job. In trained unison, these professionals react as if the accident is real, checking on the drivers and passengers and administering emergency medical assistance.

Today, this small rural community combines its efforts to make a difference in the lives of their next generation of citizens. After the weekend’s prom, it’s the collective hope of all involved that every student will return home to parents and loved ones, safe and sound. As the Prom Promise pledge states, “…for my sake and the sake of my friends and family.”

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