Mock Crash Hopes to Make Impact on Students


The parking lot of Rosie Park was a blur of activity the morning of April 25th. Two damaged cars faced each other, one with airbags deployed and one with a human body ejected through the windshield and lifeless on the hood. First on the scene was a Minnesota State Trooper and the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Department, followed by the Goodhue Fire Department/EMT/First Responders and 2 Zumbrota Area Ambulances, all arriving with lights and sirens engaged. A North Air medical helicopter circled the park before landing near the volleyball courts.

Thankfully, this was not a real emergency but a simulated scene known as a mock crash event organized by the Goodhue FFA. Members of the chapter pushed to sponsor the event before prom night, hoping to leave a lasting impact on students. Alyssa Luhman, a Goodhue High School senior and past president of the FFA chapter, was the main coordinator of the event and said, “It’s a good experience for all of us to have”.

Conversation and real-time updates between dispatch and those responding narrated the event over loudspeakers broadcasting in the park. Goodhue students from 9th to 12th grades sat speechless along the edge of the lot as the event unfolded. Student actors portrayed accident victims as the emergency crews went about their jobs with real-life accuracy. A “Passenger” (Alexa Schafer) made the 911 call. The sheriff’s department interviewed and assessed the “driver” (Eli Ryan). Determining he was likely impaired and responsible for the crash, he was handcuffed and placed in the squad car. The Sheriff’s Department stayed on scene to assist the EMT’s in evaluating the other “victims”.

It was determined that the “ejected teen” (Taite Goodman) was deceased. His distraught mother (Michelle Goodman) arrived at the crash site. The Mayo Clinic Medical Examiner inspected the scene and helped place the body in a hearse. Meanwhile, First Responders and the ambulance workers rendered aid to other “passengers” (Caleb Dicke, Ellie Peterson and Ciara Callstrom). Goodhue Fire and Emergency used the Jaws of Life and other equipment to free a “severely injured” occupant (Jed Ryan) and place him on a gurney to be rolled to the medical helicopter.

Goodhue Fire Chief, Derek Weckerling stated that the enactment was very realistic. The professionals all worked calmly and skillfully. They are trained to act swiftly and confidently as panic and rushing can cause mistakes and make the situation worse. The department is not paid to participate in these events but Weckerling stated that it is “Awesome training” for those involved. This has been the only such event put on in Goodhue County this year although there are often one or two hosted in the area.

The student actors were released from school for the remainder of the day to emphasize that they were now “missing” from the student body. As they walked away from the park ready to peel off the rubber lacerations and wash off the fake blood, Jed Ryan shared his helicopter ride experience. “It was not as cool as I thought it would be. I couldn’t see anything because I was wearing a neck brace and strapped to a board.”

All other students gathered in the school gymnasium for a video and PowerPoint presentation. “Lasting Impact, Life Without Logan”, a video created by The Minnesota Department of Public Safety, documents the 2105 real-life tragedy that killed 18-year-old Logan Maas of Dodge Center. It hopes to reinforce the importance of the four pillars of traffic safety—safe speed, attentive driving, no use of alcohol or drugs that impair driving, and wearing a seat belt. Presenter, Trooper O’Reilly says he often hears drivers say it is a personal choice not to wear their seat belt but stresses that a resulting injury or death effects everyone. High school principal, Michele Rehder addressed the group commenting that education is important, but emphasized, “Nothing is more important than your safety. Value your life and safety first, make that commitment (to wear your seatbelt)”.

Statistically, traffic crashes are the second leading cause of death (behind suicide) for Minnesota teens due to poor seat belt compliance, inexperience, risk-taking, and distractions. 80% of teen fatalities are the result of crashes involving at least one teen driver. Each year, an average of 25 teens are killed, and nearly 3,000 are injured in crashes. The presentation and mock crash event aims to help teens understand the importance of their actions when getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Goodhue prom is May 4th, please drive safely then and every day.

The Goodhue FFA would like to thank all who were involved with this event:

Student actors and parents,

North Memorial Health Air of Hennepin County,

Mayo Hospitals Medical Examiner,

Mahn Family Funeral Home,

Zumbrota Area Ambulance,

Goodhue County Sheriff’s Department,

Minnesota State Troopers,

Bergs Towing and Repair of Zumbrota,

Goodhue Fire and Rescue.