It looked real.
Massapequa High School students watched as police and fire officials staged a DWI accident complete with ambulances, a helicopter and officials using the "Jaws of Life," to free a victim. The demonstration held on the school's football field Monday was designed to have students think twice before drinking and driving, as prom and graduation seasons approach. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano addressed juniors and seniors at the school and reminded them to exercise care as they grow into adulthood. "If you have a drink, make sure you don't get behind the wheel of a car," he said.
Mangano said that police and members of the Massapequa Fire Department would put on a demonstration, "That will shock you, hopefully into making the right decisions." He proved to be correct. The simulation was graphic and featured drama students from the high school, playing victims, the drunk driver, who was arrested, and the grieving parents of one victim who was "killed" in the accident. Nicole Heneveld, who played the mother of the dead victim, said she was so overcome by the realism she had trouble speaking afterward.
"If something like that happened to one of my friends, I would be beside myself," she said.
MHS Principal Dr. Barbara Williams told students she was personally affected by a fatal DWI crash which killed a friend when she was a high school senior. While she wasn't involved in the accident, the scars remain.
"He wasn't next to us at graduation,"she said. "His parents didn't get to see him go off to college." Williams said that the assembly would be worth it even if it stopped only one person from doing something dangerous. That feeling was echoed by Massapequa Fire Department First Assistant Chief Gerard Keuchler.
"We hope that the impact is a good impact, and by the look of the people in the stands, it was."