Juniors, Seniors See Negative Effects of Drunk Driving

Staff Writer

How do you sum up 18 years into two paragraphs? That was the question Laura Cruea asked the juniors and seniors of New Bremen High School.
During a mock car accident demonstration, the students watched as their friends lay bloody and lifeless. They watched as first responders rushed to get them help, leaving one student who had already passed away laying on the hood of a beat up car. They watched as two students were arrested for texting and driving and driving with alcohol in their system.
They watched as the jaws of life pried apart car doors to get to the people trapped inside and as sheriff’s deputies collected alcohol from the back seat. They watched one friend get taken away by CareFlight. Finally, they saw their friend, the one who passed away before help could come, who was innocent in all of this, get put into a body bag and taken away by a funeral home.
Despite all of the noise from the sirens and the helicopter the students watching were silent, eyes locked on the scene. Although it wasn’t real, the scenario is a real life one, and one that could happen to them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2003 to 2012 3,637 people were killed in accidents involving a drunk driver in Ohio. In 2012, 1.2 people per 100,000 between 0 and 20 died in a drunk driver related accident. In Ohio, males were the most at risk with 5.5 out of 100,000 dying in drunk driver related incident compared to females at 1.6 out of 100,000. Both are above the national rates of 5.2 and 1.5, respectively.
In 2012, 2.2% of drivers in Ohio admitted to getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking too much within the last 30 days — higher than the national average of 1.9%.
The CDC also states that in Ohio, in one year (2013), the total cost of crash-related deaths was $1.33 billion, with medical costs at $16 million and work loss costs at $1.31 billion. Teens accounted for $146 million of that total.
Cruea spoke to the students after the mock accident, explaining that the demonstration they saw was her reality eight years ago. Her son Joey Seger was killed in a car accident after a woman got behind the wheel after getting high. He was a senior at Piqua High School and he was coming home from the store with his dad.
She described Seger as a gentle giant who loved demolition derbies. He was the older of her two sons, who she said were best friends. Cruea shared with students the awful moment she had to tell her youngest son that he didn’t have an older brother anymore.
She shared her story in hopes that no one else will have to go through the hard reality she had to go through. And her story wasn’t lost on the students.
Senior Madeline Burtch said the first time she saw the mock crash two years ago and it scared her straight.
“My friends were involved in it [last time] and seeing your friends like being in an accident just scares you,” she said. “That could be a real life thing and … when they read the poem that gets to you and then when the lady always talks about her son, it’s awful.”
Having watched the mock crash and being a part of it Burtch believes everyone should watch something like it to understand the risks. She does, and so do her friends, she added.
“For prom we’re going to be smart, we know everything to do and we won’t do any of this,” she said. “From watching this, everyone knows the outcome.”