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Mock crash shows South students dangers of driving drunk

Firefighters+load+an+%27injured%22+teenager+into+a+helicopter+during+the+Mock+Crash+at+the+South+Mountain+High+School%2C+an+event+designed+to+prevent+students+from+drinking+and+driving.
Firefighters load an 'injured

Firefighters load an 'injured" teenager into a helicopter during the Mock Crash at the South Mountain High School, an event designed to prevent students from drinking and driving.

Photo by Tabatha Ramirez

Photo by Tabatha Ramirez

Firefighters load an 'injured" teenager into a helicopter during the Mock Crash at the South Mountain High School, an event designed to prevent students from drinking and driving.

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Friday, the City of Phoenix, the Phoenix Police and Fire Departments, and other community groups hosted the Mock Crash at South Mountain High School. The Mock Crash was an recreation of a car accident involving teens and ways students can avoid being in that situation. Juniors and Seniors attended the event that took place on the football field.

As students settled on the bleachers, two cars were hidden under red sheets. When they pulled back the sheets, Senior Jorge Morataya crawled out of his girlfriend’s, damaged car shouting and whimpering, his clothes shredded, and what appeared to be blood running down his face. He immediately called 911 as he looked at senior Jessica Quintero who wasn’t breathing. He followed the 911 operator’s directions to begin CPR. Police soon arrived on motorcycles, sirens ringing. An officer took Morataya’s place, performing and CPR on Qunitero. Another officer pulled Morataya aside as firefighters arrived.

Students in the stands watched intently as the scene unfolded in front of them. Then, the police pronounce Jessica dead on impact, because she didn’t have her seatbelt on and ended up going through the windshield. So, they move to the other injured people, one of whom would get airlifted by helicopter to the closest hospital.

Police later determine that Morataya and Quintero had a few drinks at a party after attending homecoming. Quintero decided not to drive and let Morataya take her place behind the wheel. He looked down at his phone for a second and ran a red light. Following a sobriety test, he was handcuffed and arrested for manslaughter, DUI, and drinking under the age limit.

Senior Rainy Hardy explained how the scene impacted her.

“I felt sad, because the guy killed his homecoming date. She died on impact. They [couldn’t] bring her back,” she said. “I hope everyone can learn from this experience, not to drink and drive, [and] to tell their friends and families.”

Officer J. Bianchi was to be able to educate all the students about this common threat.

“We have about a thousand kids watching. We’re trying to get the message out to them about drinking and driving, texting and driving, drinking at all, using drugs. To try to think first about what they’re doing,” he said. “We’d much rather put on a scenario, pretend, which hopefully will prevent one from really happening. That’s really the goal behind it. We’d rather spend the resources  to try to teach and educate . . . as opposed to have to use all these . . . resources on a real event.”

Wade Andes, a firefighter, wants students to be safe.

“Cars are basically weapons going 45 miles an hour. You’re going to kill someone if you make a stupid decision,” he said. “Just be careful. Wear your seat belts.”

“Even if it’s to just reach one, to save one life, it’s worth it,” Bianchi said. “Think before you drink. Make those decisions ahead of time. Obviously, I don’t want you to consume alcohol, [but] figure out how you’re gonna get home, before you take that first drink. Don’t try to figure out how to get home after. That’s when people make mistakes.”

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Mock crash shows South students dangers of driving drunk