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Mock fatal accident brings clear warning to students at Mt. Pleasant

| Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 10:55 a.m.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Taylor Mizikar, an EMT with Kecksburg volunteer fire depatment, treats Mt. Pleasant Area High School senior Becky Hontz during a mock vehicle accident performed at the school's parking lot on Monday, April 29, 2013.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
While performing a mock vehicle accident scenario at Mt. Pleasant Area High School, EMTs with Norvelt EMS transported Karissa Farrell, who was portraying a victim during the mock fatal vehicle accident. From left are Kristina Wallace, Joe McAliff and Reed Overand.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Mt. Pleasant Area High School students watch a mock fatal vehicle accident at Mt. Pleasant Area High School which was performed at the school's parking lot on Monday, April 29, 2013.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Taylor Mizikar, an EMT with Kecksburg VFD, prepares to transport Mt. Pleasant Area High School senior Becky Hontz during a mock vehicle accident performed at the school's parking lot.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Alec Kujawa, a senior at Mt. Pleasant Area High School, displays makeup used to shows injuries during a mock vehicle accident performed at Mt. Pleasant Area High School.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Mt. Pleasant Area High School students watch a mock fatal vehicle accident at Mt. Pleasant Area High School which was performed at the school's parking lot on Monday, April 29, 2013.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Cody Wiltrout, a senior at Mt. Pleasant Area High School, portrays an accident victim in front of his classmates at Mt. Pleasant Area High School during a mock fatal vehicle accident performed at the school's parking lot.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Westmoreland County Deputy Coroner Sean Hribal displays a needle used to collect blood samples from fatal vehicle accidents during a mock vehicle accident performed at the school's parking lot.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Paul Cycak, Chief Deputy Coroner for Westmoreland County, speaks to students at Mt. Pleasant Area High School on the dangers and consequences of drinking and driving during a mock vehicle accident performed at the school's parking lot on Monday, April 29, 2013.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Karissa Farrell, a senior at Mt. Pleasant Area High School, awaits for the start of a mock fatal vehicle accident at Mt. Pleasant Area High School which was performed at the school's parking lot April 29.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Karissa Farrell, a senior at Mt. Pleasant Area High School, makes a phone call to 911, calling for help, as students watch a mock fatal vehicle accident at Mt. Pleasant Area High School which was performed at the school's parking lot on Monday, April 29, 2013.
Evan R. Sanders | For The Independent-Observer
Emily Forejt, who portrayed an accident victim in another vehicle, reacts as first responders arrive on scene at Mt. Pleasant Area High School during a mock vehicle accident performed at the school's parking lot.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
While performing a mock vehicle accident scenario at Mt. Pleasant Area High School, first responders with volunteer fire departments from, Hecla, Norvelt, Kecksburg, and Mt. Pleasant along with paramedics from Medic10, Norvelt, and Kecksburg, begin to work the scene of the mock fatal vehicle accident.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Mt. Pleasant Area High School students watch a mock fatal vehicle accident at Mt. Pleasant Area High School which was performed at the school's parking lot.

“On the night of June 25, 2010, my son walked out the door and never came back.”

Molly Cobb of Delmont shared those sobering words with students from Mt. Pleasant Area High School on Monday.

Her son Jordan, 19, was killed in a crash involving a drunken driver. Jordan Cobb was a passenger in a vehicle driven by the drunken driver.

Molly Cobb detailed her son's last day with her. She described his bear hugs, quick wit and wonderful sense of humor — all of which she will never forget.

Jordan Cobb left on June 25, 2010, to attend a graduation party. There was underage drinking at the party.

“My sweet, sweet boy was never coming back,” she said.

Cobb told the students that they can choose to not drink. She discussed how she and her family and other families of deceased teenagers killed in fatal crashes suffer.

“Dead is final,” Cobb said. “You can't come back from dead.”

Cobb was one of several presenters during a program to remind students not to drink and drive.

The program included a realistic, mock fatal crash in the high school parking lot.

With high school proms right around the corner, concern about the dangers of drinking and driving run high.

So Mt. Pleasant Junior/Senior High School Principal Ken Williams decided to take the facts to the students.

Williams arranged for the mock car crash to be staged in the school parking area. High school juniors and seniors witnessed firsthand the devastation that can be caused while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs — or both.

“I felt it was time to do this again,” Williams said. A similar event was held in 1987 at the high school.

Several first responder units participated. They included Norvelt, Kecksburg, Hecla and Mt. Pleasant volunteer fire departments, Norvelt EMS, Kecksburg EMS, Medic 10 and Frick Excela Medic 930.

A medical helicopter from Allegheny General Hospital took part in the demonstration.

Speaking to the students at the crash site was Paul Cycak Jr., Westmoreland County chief deputy coroner.

“Can you afford to lose your driver's license or can you afford to lose a friend?” Cycak said. “It's your responsibility to make sure that you don't drink and drive on prom night or any other night, then get behind the wheel of a car.”

The students watched the crash and how the bodies were treated, taken care of and processed.

Other featured speakers were Mt. Pleasant student Lauren Caletri from Westmoreland Community Action who showed a short film and read statistics on the dangers of drinking.

“You kids think that it will never happen to you, that you are smarter than that and that it will only happen to someone else,” Cobb said. “All of you are potentially someone else.”

Cards were passed out for the students to take a “do not drink” pledge.

Mt. Pleasant Area High School will hold its prom on Friday.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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