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April 26, 2012

SIU Med School to hold Crash Reenactment Program in Virden

Students at North Mac High School will witness a mock crash reenactment presented in part by “ThinkFirst,” an injury prevention program offered by Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield. The reenactment will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 1 at North Mac High School, 231 West Fortune Street, Virden.

The outdoor event depicts what can happen when young drivers drink and drive or ride with distracted or impaired drivers. Wrecked vehicles will be on site. Some students will be dressed and made-up to appear as crash victims.

Emergency personnel normally summoned after a car crash will simulate their tasks. Those assisting are North Mac High School staff, Virden Fire, EMS and Police Departments, Girard Fire, EMS and Police Departments, Macoupin County Sheriff’s Department, Illinois State Police and Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, Calvert & Ferry Funeral Home and Wiseman Towing. Guest speakers for this event will be Illinois State Police Trooper Doug Francis and Macoupin County Coroner Brad Targhetta.

“The purpose of the crash reenactment program is to show the real-life consequences of risk-taking behaviors,” says Mary Kay Reed, SIU instructor of surgery and project director. “Students are capable of making intelligent decisions.” This local program is a chapter of the ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation. ThinkFirst is presented as a public service at no cost to the school.

Each year 430,000 brain and spinal cord injuries occur in the United States; one-third happens to people between the ages of 15 and 24. "This year there will be more than 1,200 brain injuries and more than 800 spinal injuries in a 40-county area of central Illinois. The tragedy is most of these injuries are preventable," explains Reed.

ThinkFirst is funded by SIU School of Medicine and by a federal grant provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation and administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety. Those interested in the program are invited to contact Reed at SIU School of Medicine, P.O. Box 19679, Springfield, IL 62794-9679, 217-545-9112.