MIDDLETOWN — Middletown High School student Cadyn Mathis “died” in a fatal campus car crash Friday and soon after said she hoped her theatrically gruesome passing during a mock crash demonstration made an impact on her classmates’ driving habits during prom season.
Mathis was among a dozen Middletown students who helped relay the deadly consequences of driving while impaired or distracted by acting as one of the dead victims in a staged, two-car crash at the school.
Playing parts in the theatrical safety event behind the school was Middletown Police, city EMS and firefighters as well as a CareFlight medical helicopter, which landed about 100 yards from crash and within minutes transported a student portraying a critically injured teen into the skies.
Watching were hundreds of high school students called outside from class to witness the sometimes gory details of how their young lives could be damaged forever through carelessness on the road.
“It’s nice to know I’m making a difference in the community, even it is in an unconventional way like this,” said Mathis while sporting gruesome fake wounds and covered in faux blood.
“I think this helps to show students the impact of drinking and driving. Especially for special events like prom, it can be deadly,” said the Middletown senior.
Middletown’s prom is this evening, and City Police Chief David Birk said the visually striking demonstration is purposefully given the increase in teen driving fatalities before and after the popular, spring-time dances.
“They (students) actually get to see what would happen if it was a real crash,” said Birk of the annual demonstration.
“It gets the students to think about the consequences for their actions. And with the role-playing, they get to see it first hand … and we try to make it as realistic as possible.”
And April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and earlier this month Ohio lawmakers passed new laws restricting drivers from texting and speaking on mobile phones while operating a vehicle.
this month is he realism, which also included a Middletown mother speaking emotionally about losing her son years ago in a car crash caused by an intoxicated driver, got the message through to junior Ava Dalton.
“I think it really does get through to everyone. The whole thing is to help us be safe and stay safe on prom night and any night that someone is driving,” said Dalton.
Senior Jada Patton said the dramatic and realistic approach drew and held her attention.
“It’s like real life and it shows that this happens in real life. It shows that your decisions and your actions can lead to you killing your friends and (members) of other people’s families.”
“It really makes you self-reflect and I know I’m going to be more safe on the road,” said Patton.
School parent Amy Fletcher, whose daughter Mary was among the student actors, joined the crowd in watching the event.
“I think this is a good thing for the kids to see people they actually know in this circumstance. I think maybe it will make the safety message will hit closer to home and they will think twice before they make bad decisions,” said Fletcher.
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