Shattered Lives: Poor choices limit future opportunities

Shattered Lives show students the consequences of distracted driving


Photo by: Kiley Neeley

Senior Katelyn Finley lies across the hood of a vehicle after being thrown through the windshield during a simulated car wreck as part of the Shattered Lives program Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, at Caney Creek High School.

George Juarez, Editor-in-Chief

Car accidents are the leading cause of teenage deaths in Montgomery County and the Shattered Lives program wants to make that a relic of the past, according to director Brenda Jaszkowiak.

Shattered Lives Montgomery County came to Caney Creek High School and hosted a simulated wreck in the student parking lot Wednesday. Juniors and seniors watched as law enforcement and EMT personnel demonstrated what a real fatality crash site would look like.

“What we try to do is not just talk about drinking and driving,” Jaszkowiak said. “We try to instill different lessons on communication, and how to be responsible, distracted driving, drinking and drugs.”

A state trooper, an EMT and the Grim Reaper would pull students out of class every 15 minutes, symbolizing the alcohol-related, fatality rate. The EMT would read a student’s obituary, which were then hung on the walls of the rotunda. Students and faculty were allowed to write notes to the faux deceased as part of the reminder not to drink and drive, which hits home for some students already.

“My brother, not too long ago, was out with friends trying to have some fun and got rear-ended by a drunk driver,” junior James Fulmer. “He’s OK fortunately, but this stuff’s real.”

Alumna Ryann Moore was a junior when the program last visited the campus three years ago. She was part of the wreck and said when she first heard it was coming back, she immediately raised her hand to help out.

“Most teenagers don’t pay attention to the road, they pay attention to their phone,” Moore said. “They realize, ‘I’ve been driving for so long, I can multitask,’ and then an accident happens. It’s just something that most teenagers don’t understand and dont respect.”

Junior Kameron Burton, who was pronounced “dead” at the scene, said the experience impacted her.

“I think just seeing it from the point of view that, ‘You’re dead,’ and when they took my pulse and they were like ‘You’re dead,’ it shocks you,” Burton said.

Parents of students involved in the scene were present and many broke into tears as they watched their child being carried into ambulances.

“Beyond this moment, one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Tiffany Burton, Kameron’s mother, said in tears. “A parent should never have to write their child’s obituary.”

The student participants then took an overnight trip to the Lone Star Convention Center where guest speakers talked to them about drug and alcohol abuse, and where the students participated in several activities to reinforce the dangers of that concept.

Students returned to school Thursday and talked to their peers, as did student parents and past drunk-driving survivors, at an assembly for juniors and seniors.

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