A head-on crash between an SUV and a small sedan along Highway 3 at the Cesar Chavez High School is witnessed by hundreds of students. All the victims were also students at the school in Southeast Houston. One was killed and another arrested for driving drunk. Others were trapped in the wreckage. Houston Public Radio’s Rod Rice reports that authorities on the scene said it was a good morning.
It was a good day because it was staged. It was a presentation called “Shattered Dreams” designed to impress teens about the tragedies that all too often are the result of drinking and driving. The scene was very real with mangled vehicles, bloodied and trapped students, a dead body, and horrified friends of the victims.
The scene was so real people driving by and in the neighborhood looked on thinking it was a real accident. Ambulances arrived on the scene and transported victims that had been cut from the twisted wreckage by the Jaws of Life. HFD Ladder Truck Captain Greg Hedberg says fire and police officers treated the scene the same way they would treat the all too familiar real thing.
And that’s the reason Ben Taub General Hospital is part of the “Shattered Dreams” program. According to Robin Garza Ben Taub’s Trauma Program Manager, Harris County is the number one county in the country for underage drinking and driving deaths and injuries. Ben Taub co-ordinates the effort and helps makes the wreck so real that it’s easy to forget it’s a teaching tool.
And while the beer truck did generate some cheers a lot of the students did seem to get it.
This is the first year that Shattered Dreams, a national program, has been presented just before Spring Break. It has and will again be done at selected schools just before they hold their Proms.