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Sheriffs office puts on program showing outcome of dangerous driving
The Grim Reaper leans over Megan Wood, playing an accident victim, as Mitch Umberson, playing one of the drivers, emerges from a wrecked car during the “Fatal Vision” program Wednesday at East Hall High School. - photo by Tom Reed

East Hall High School juniors and seniors took a seat in their football stadium Wednesday morning — but not to watch a game.

The students were there to watch “Fatal Vision,” a program put on by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

“Fatal Vision” is a crash simulation that shows students the consequences of dangerous driving.

Lt. Gene Joy of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office narrated the event, walking students through a scenario that could lead to a fatal head-on collision.

In the scenario, a group of friends are hanging out and drinking beers when they realize they need to rush home to make their curfew.

The driver, who has been drinking, runs through a stop sign and hits another car head on, throwing the person in the passenger seat through the windshield of the car.

On the football field, a tarp is removed to reveal two wrecked cars and the injured “passengers” enacting the aftermath of a wreck.

Real fire trucks and vehicles from the sheriff’s office drive onto the field to illustrate how they handle car wrecks.

Emergency personnel had to pull people from the wreckage and put them on stretchers.

A Grim Reaper was there, hovering over a dead passenger as a white sheet was placed over her.

Joy said that powerful image is to remind teenagers that lives are at stake when people take risks behind the wheel.

“It’s a dramatization, but it’s realistic and accurate,” Joy said. “It’s important for you to make good decisions for yourself. We hope this is a message you’ll take home with you in your heart.”

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office will present the “Fatal Vision” program to juniors and seniors at the six Hall County system high schools through next week.

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” Joy said. “When they see the actual events of a car crash, the young people who are injured, they’re certainly more likely to think twice.”

Joy said as the school year winds down it is especially important for students to remember safe driving.

“Hopefully before the proms, before the summer events, they’ll be better decision makers,” Joy said.

East Hall High Principal Jeff Cooper said the program was beneficial for the students to see.

“It’s a good thing. Our kids do need to be aware because at this point in time many try to experiment with different things and can find themselves in a little bit of trouble,” Cooper said. “Seeing things like this hopefully will bring their awareness up to where they will make better choices.”

Joy said it’s not just alcohol and drugs that leave teen drivers impaired.

“With this scenario we’ve had today, we hope we can convey the message that you don’t need to text message, you don’t need to drink and drive and you don’t need to speed,” Joy said.

Col. Jeff Strickland said fatal crashes are tragic for everyone involved, especially those involving teens.

“It’s important for us to be proactive and try to prevent these accidents before they happen,” Strickland said.

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