Oregon Impact worked with local organizations to stage a crash reenactment at Molalla High School

On Tuesday, May 29 Molalla High School students gathered outside near the soccer field expecting to enjoy music and a DJ, when suddenly they heard a bang; and an elaborate crash reenactment began to unfold in front of them.

"It stuns them," said Lynn Blatter of Molalla Drive 2 Zero, who helped schedule the reenactment. "One thing that impacts me is when they come out they're typical kids, you know they're laughing, talking, enjoying the music, the whole thing; and the minute they realize that this has happened and they pull off the tarp off of these cars, they're dead silent. You could hear a pin drop with these students."

COURTESY PHOTO: AMR - Oregon Impact staged a crash reenactment at Molalla High on May 29.

One of Molalla Drive 2 Zero's objectives is to reach out to young drivers in an effort to reduce fatal crashes. When Blatter found out that Oregon Impact stages crash reenactments at schools, she was eager to invite them to Molalla.

The crash scenario was set up from a local perspective, hypothetically taking place at the intersection in Meadowbrook. The young male driver in one car had been drinking. He had passengers with him who had not been drinking, but irresponsibly allowed the man to drive. The driver of the other car was a student driving her parents' car with passengers in tow. She left the stop sign, the drunk driver didn't see her, and the collision took place. It involved several fatalities.

COURTESY PHOTO: LYNN BLATTER - Paige Gump was made up by Cascadia Moulage artists and participated as an actor in the crash reenactment.Cascadia Moulage artists made up the student actors to appear realistically wounded.

In the reenactment, the drunk driver lived, but was sent to prison and later had difficulty finding a job because of his criminal record. His parents were financially devastated by the event.

All of this is to expose students to the broad-reaching potential repercussions of unsafe driving.

"In the long run, we just want to try and alleviate some of these crashes that we're having and losing some of our young people," Blatter said. "They're our future."

She added, "Unfortunately, with young people, they don't always understand long-term impacts of their behavior, and this is what we want to try and get through to them."

Blatter pointed out that passengers should follow safe practices as well.

"You need to be a responsible passenger as well as a responsible driver," Blatter said. "In this scenario, the young [people] that got into the car with the young man who was inebriated overall could have taken keys away and made a phone call. So, [their] choices were there as well…Just because you're not the driver doesn't mean that you have no responsibility. So awareness of all these things is what we're going for."

Several local individuals, businesses and agencies teamed up with Drive 2 Zero and Oregon Impact to make the event successful: Molalla Fire, Molalla Police, AMR Ambulance, Molalla High School students, high school Principal Brad Berzinski, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, the funeral home, Bud's Towing and Cascadia Moulage artists.

Kristen Wohlers
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