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April 12, 2011

SIU Med School to Hold Crash Reenactment at Petersburg/PORTA

ThinkFirst, an injury prevention program offered by Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, will assist in presenting a mock crash reenactment to students at PORTA High School in Petersburg at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 21. 

The program features a crash reenactment using vehicles and local students as crash victims.  A special focus on texting and driving, alcohol zero tolerance and safety during prom and graduation activities are key components of this special event. 

The reenactment will focus on what can happen when young drivers drink and drive or ride with distracted or impaired drivers.  Emergency personnel normally summoned after a car crash will simulate their tasks.  Some students will be dressed and made-up to appear as crash victims.  Those assisting are Petersburg Fire and Police Departments, Menard County School and Community Task Force, Menard County Coroner, EMS, Health, Rescue and Sheriff’s Departments, Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, Hurley Funeral Home and Air Evac Helicopter.  Guest speakers for this event are Larry Smith, retired Menard County Sheriff, Coroner Larry Hollis and Danny Hicks, victim speaker from SIU. 

“The purpose of the crash reenactment program is to show the real-life consequences of risk-taking behaviors,” says Mary Kay Reed, instructor of surgery at SIU School of Medicine and project director.  “Students are capable of making intelligent decisions.  This event illustrates the consequences that can follow when bad decisions are made.” 

Each year 430,000 brain and spinal cord injuries occur in the United States; one-third happen 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 a chapter of the ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation.  It is funded by the School 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.  The program is presented as a public service at no cost to the school.  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.