Substance Abuse Coalition to visit sixth-grade classes; hold mock DUI event at EAC

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: The Graham County Substance Abuse Coalition will be holding its mock DUI crash scene at EAC on March 20.

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM COUNTY – One of the Graham County Substance Abuse Coalition’s goals is to help advise youth of the dangers of drug and alcohol addiction. To do so, the Coalition will visit area sixth-grade classes over the next few months for a two-hour informative program, which culminates with a speech by Graham County Superior Court Judge Michael D. Peterson. 

Jon Johnson Video/Gila Herald: 2017 Mock DUI Crash

The program shows a video and then splits into five or so different groups, each specializing in a specific area of addiction, to inform the youth of the repercussions of substance abuse.

After the groups have all rotated to each different station, the entire grade comes back together to hear from the judge. 

Following is a list of schools that have signed up to participate and the dates and times. 

Solomon           Feb. 28       8:15 – 10:15 a.m.

TLC           March 7            12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Dorothy Stinson     March 8          9 – 11 a.m.

Ruth Powell             March 21          8:30 – 10:30 a.m. 

Fort Thomas            April 4               9:30 – 11:30 a.m. 

Thatcher                  May 3                8:10 – 10:10 a.m. 

Thatcher                   May 3            10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.


Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Ella Peterson sports fake injuries for the mock crash event held in 2017.

The GCSAC’s bi-annual mock DUI crash will be held at EAC’s John T. Mickelson Stadium in Thatcher on March, 20, starting at 9 a.m. Those living in the area will likely hear sirens from emergency responders and see a helicopter land near the field for the event. 

Area freshmen and sophomores will be bussed in for the mock DUI crash, which utilizes wrecked cars and actors while a dispatch call is played over the public address system. 

Graham County Sheriff P.J. Allred said while the event is geared toward the students, especially with graduation and end-of-the-school-year dances right around the corner, it is also beneficial for the community as a whole. 

“There’s been more than once that we’ve had to go to homes in the past and talk to kids at the house to basically let them know that their parents won’t be coming home because a parent also likes to drink and drive and get involved in these things,” Allred said. “So, it’s not just always a kid thing but at this time, graduation is coming – spring break (and) all that stuff – it’s good to gear  up and go toward the kids on this the best that we possibly can.” 

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Firefighters cut off the car’s roof to extricate the injured occupants at the 2017 mock DUI crash.

The event will feature what happens during a DUI crash, including injured being taken away by ambulance or airlifted by a helicopter, firefighters cutting out a car to get to injured victims, a funeral home responding to take away a dead body, and the inebriated driver being arrested and having to face the parents of the passenger they killed. 

Afterward, guest speakers, including Judge Peterson, are expected to speak to the students about their own personal experiences in dealing with what was portrayed.  

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Lynn Smith, left, who lost a son in a drunk-driving crash, and Graham County Superior Court Judge Michael D. Peterson address the crowd at the 2017 event.
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