Given that teenagers tune out adults who try to warn them about risky behaviors, how do parents and teachers reach them? State Farm and Main Line Health have an answer. The companies have teamed up to stage mock crash events that dramatically re-enact a fatal crash resulting from drunk driving. In the re-enactment, two teens are killed, and one driver is arrested for driving while intoxicated.
State Farm, Main Line Health, Bryn Mawr Rehab, local first responders from Malvern and Willistown Township, the Chester County Coroners office, and Jefferson Stat emergency services staged a mock crash at Villa Maria on Thursday, April 12. Juniors and seniors from Villa Maria and Malvern Prep attended the event.
Following the re-enactment, the students moved to the gym for a Cruisin’ Smart presentation, presented by Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital. Dan Perrino and his father David talked to the students about life after a brain injury. “If I can change one person’s life…if one person can make the decision not to drink and drive, then I’ve done my job,” Dan said. He and his father have spoken to more than 20,000 in the years since his accident.
Dan sustained such an injury while driving drunk as a 17-year-old high school student. His devastating accident left him with memory loss, partial blindness and hearing loss, and reduced movement on one side of his body. “I’ll never be who I was,” Dan told the students. “But that’s okay. In some ways I’m a better person than I used to be.”
The father and son painted a stark picture for the students, recounting their difficulties and feelings, and presenting photographs documenting the accident, severe injuries, and resulting struggles. Dan noted that his high school friends have moved on with their lives. “I’m on a different path now,” he said. “Please learn from my mistake. Think about your choices. Your decisions affect many other people besides yourself. Injuries like mine last forever. It’s just not worth it.”
The scene dramatized a crash caused by drunk driving, with students playing the parts of injured and deceased passengers and drivers. Police administered a field sobriety test to the driver who caused the accident, and then placed her under arrest. Two students were extracted from the vehicle, with the rescue squad cutting the roof off of one of the cars. The two students were pronounced “dead” at the scene, while an actress from the Media Theatre shook up the audience with her portrayal of the distraught mother of one of the “dead” passengers. Jefferson Stat landed their helicopter on the hockey field, and a student was taken away on a stretcher.
6ABC featured the crash on several newscasts, and the Daily Local covered it online and in print.