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Students witness ripple effect of drinking and driving

IMG_1560Kristen Piper knew she was going to be arrested. In front of her Prince Edward Collegiate senior student peers, Piper was handcuffed and charged with impaired driving causing death.

Kristen Piper knew she was going to be arrested

Kristen Piper being “arrested” by Det. Const. Matt Caissie

Turns out she was happy to be cuffed by PEC OPP Detective Constable Matt Caissie as the incident was part of a mock accident through the P.A.R.T.Y. presentation at Picton Memorial Hospital.  P.A.R.T.Y (Prevent Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth) is an in-hospital, interactive program for teenagers. It was developed at Sunnybrook hospital in 1986 and adopted by Quinte Health Care 2011.

While about 30 senior students watched, another peer, Montana MacFarlane, was strapped to a stretcher and put into an ambulance and the students’ co-president, Kurtis Brewster, was laying on the pavement under a sheet – waiting for a toe tag to indicate he was dead.

The students were witnessing the ripple effect of making the poor decision to drink and drive. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 25.

Montana MacFarlane was "injured" in the accident.

Montana MacFarlane was “injured” in the accident.

To make it real for the students, the event was unfolded by members of the Prince Edward County Fire Department, OPP, ambulance paramedics, doctors and nurses.

The crime scene included a wrecked vehicle and the students watched as firefighters worked to free  survivors trapped inside.

Dr. Darren Lett explained the duties of a coroner on the scene as he prounouced Brewster, PECI's co-president, "dead".

Dr. Darren Lett explained the duties of a coroner on the scene as he pronounced PECI’s co-president, “dead”.

Soon after, Piper was given a breathalyzer test and arrested. Officer Caissie explained to the students that there’s no way to bend the truth – breathalyzers don’t lie, newer vehicles have digital devices that will tell police what the vehicle was doing at the time of an accident and that examination of a cell phone will determine if it was being used while driving.

“There is so much information here and I’m so happy to be taking part and learning from it all,” said Piper. “When my friends go out drinking I will be the DD (designated driver) from now on. “I don’t want this to happen to my friends, ever.”

mock-toe-tagDr. Darren Lett explained the duties of a coroner on the scene as he pronounced PECI’s co-president dead.

“The fact here is that once somebody is dead on scene there is nothing you can do about it,” he said pulling a sheet over Brewster’s body. “It’s just over.”

Dr. Lett said he is equally concerned about the danger of texting and driving.

“Lately I’m almost more nervous about texting and driving. Their lives revolve around those phones and they need to learn the discipline to say ‘no’ and leave them alone while they’re driving. Something like this accident can happen in a split second.”

Kristen Piper

Det. Const. Matt Caissie explains the breathalyzer procedure

Filed Under: Featured ArticlesHastings & Prince Edward District School BoardPECI - It's a Panther Thing

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  1. Donna Brewster says:

    From what I heard of it (even though he was under a sheet part of the time), it was a great presentation, that hopefully the participants will take to heart.

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