By: Carolyn Wallace
North Attleboro High School juniors and seniors were moved to tears as they watched their classmates portray a fatal mock car accident Wednesday morning.
Drunk driver Lyndsey Burtch and her passengers, Meredith Johnson and Abi Rodriguez, crashed into sober driver Olivia Pettengill and her passengers, Katie Irey, Nicole Boulanger and Michaela Goodman. Pettengill claims that her experience in the accident was “just crazy. We had a blast getting ready and performing it but it was crazy to see all of the students crowded around watching.”
Senior Katie Irey was “killed” after being ejected through the windshield of the sober car. Nicole Boulanger was removed from the victims’ car and taken away in an ambulance. Her screams sent chills down the students’ spines, as described by many student viewers.
The accident was staged to show the impact that drinking and driving can have on not only the lives of the victims but of the drunk drivers. Lyndsey Burtch was arrested on the scene and her passengers were interrogated. “It was definitely weird, I don’t know how else to say it. I’m so used to sitting in the passenger seat when Lyndsey is driving, but never like this. She’s so responsible. But this was scary,” says Abi Rodriguez, who was in the passenger seat in Burtch’s car.
The accident ended with Irey being taken away in a body bag and hearse. After the event, students joined policeman Craig Chapman and firefighter Richard McDonagh to discuss the effects of distracted driving. McDonagh presented a powerful slide show with pictures of real-life car wrecks and crashes.
Administrators and a local reverend were on the scene and involved in the discussion. The impact that they hope to leave with this mock accident is that it happens in North Attleboro, and it can happen to anyone if they don’t pay attention to their surroundings behind the wheel.