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Teens Throughout The Southeast Region Attend Mock DWI Crash Performed By Local First Responders

Clayton Hester/KRCU

High school students from across southeast Missouri witnessed a simulated crash today near the Drury Plaza Conference Center in Cape Girardeau, organized by a statewide youth traffic safety leadership training program, called TRACTION.

The staged accident featured the aftermath of a head-on, DWI-related crash between two cars: a trapped passenger cut out of the car, a death, an arrest over the DWI, and a casualty taken away by ambulance. 

Event organizer Ashley Koehler says they put on the mock crash every year. 

“I’m hoping these teenagers can take the charge and teach their younger siblings and younger people in their schools - their mom and dad,” she said. “We all need to be safer driving. We all make mistakes, it happens.”

On the scene were a police car, a fire truck, a coroner vehicle, and an ambulance. The cars wrecked were donated by Junior Sinn Auto Parts, who Koehler says was “more than willing to help,” since they use it for training. 

TRACTION, which stands for “Teens taking action to prevent traffic crashes,” has been an organization for 25 years, and the statewide group receives funding from the Missouri Department of Transportation. 

Through events such as this staged accident, they try to encourage high schoolers, their peers, and community to buckle up, put the phone down, take their time, drive a little safer, and “arrive alive.” This message was sent home today with students from Twin Rivers, Notre Dame, New Madrid, South Reynolds County, Perryville, Leopold, Oran, Cape Central, Portageville, Liberty and McDonald County.

“What they are doing here is creating an action plan to take back to their schools and communities on how to make their schools and communities on how to make their students safer behind the wheel,” Koehler says. “We have a lot of FCCLA members [and] STUCO. So just the leaders in their school come and put this together and take it back.”

The event began on Thursday with workshops and various activities - including hearing from crash survivors - which will continue into Saturday.