The Student Activities Board hosted their seventh annual mock D.U.I. with some extra add-ons from the previous years.
On Oct. 26, students gathered around the parking lot in front of buildings eight and nine at 12:15 p.m. to witness the mock D.U.I. According to Marjorie McGee, director of Student Life, more than 100 students were in attendance during the event. It lasted through the activity hour, which is the free hour students have between classes.
The event started when the sirens of the fire trucks were heard from across the parking lot, which were followed by the sirens of the ambulances. They rushed to the mock scene, where a white sedan was propped to look like it had run right into a campus tree. Surrounding the vehicle were beer, wine, and liquor bottles, plus a Winn-Dixie membership discount card, made to look like they had fallen or been thrown from the car.
In total there were six students involved in the accident: driver Deonte Smith, three survivors Michael Bones, Danielle Bryan, and Miki Ueda, along with two deceased students: Kristen Garrett and William Bruce. Puddles of fake blood surrounded the two deceased, and more blood was caked on the surviving victims, all of whom were either on the grass or the concrete.
Once the fire trucks and ambulances started to arrive on the scene, a group of theater students came out of the woodwork and gathered around the incident. Distressed screams and sobs came from each one of the 13 students when they saw their fellow peers had been in an accident caused by a drunk driver.
“My reasonability today was to act as a friend that has just seen her friends die in a car crash,” said Diamond Torres, 18, theater major. “This is a really serious matter. It needs to be more spread around that people need to stop driving drunk, that it effects more than one person, and lives really do matter.”
Flight Care flew in to airlift the injured to the hospital. The EMTs brought a dummy out on a stretcher, and two Flight Care pilots met them to move the dummy to their own stretcher to transport the dummy to the helicopter.
“[This was the] first time ever we had a helicopter land,” McGee said. “That was amazing.”
Once the injured were assisted by the EMTs, police officers starting showing up to tackle the scene in front of them. An Ocala police officer had the driver, Smith, perform standard field sobriety tests, one of which being the ‘walk the line’ test, where Smith had to walk completely straight on a line and turn around to do it again. As expected, Smith was accused of driving under the influence, where he was then put in handcuffs and escorted into the police cruiser.
The medical examiner came to the scene to take the two deceased victims away. If that wasn’t enough, the Grim Reaper emerged out of the back of the van dressed head to toe in a black cloak, carrying the well-recognized scythe to reap the dead.
“The purpose [of the mock D.U.I.] is to to remind all of our students of the dangers of drinking and driving, and how permanent the consequences can be,” McGee said. “I would hope that they remember every time they make a decision to get in a car to make a safe decision, and to choose to not drink and drive.”
To add to the seriousness of the event, a funeral was held for the two deceased victims involved in the accident. The 13 theater students were seated in front of a light blue coffin where they mourned for their friends that were taken from this world too early. Smith was there in his prison get up and restrained by handcuffs, while he preached to the audience of the consequences that one choice can make not only on you, but others around you.
“I came because I think it’s very important to see exactly what happens on a real scene of drinking and driving,” said Jasmine Brown, 29, early childhood major. “I was almost in tears. I have never experienced it personally in my life, but it makes you think. I think they did a great job; it was a great experience.”
To end the event, SAB handed out red ribbon keys attached to a note that stated: “This could be you. This could be your loved one, your best friend, the person you sit next to in science class. All it takes is one drink, one instance, one decision. When you make the choice to drink and drive, you make the choice to put your life and the lives of others at risk. Think before you drink. Think before you drive.”
Story and photos by: Katelyn B. James