By Tamas Mondovics

Students at Bloomingdale Senior High School got a chance to reflect on the stark realities of what can occur when individuals drink and drive, thanks to a Mock DUI Crash event held last month on the school’s Charley Harris stadium athletic field.

The event appropriately themed, “A New Year’s Party” was held under the direction of the  Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by several local agencies, including Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, Stepps Towing, Tampa General Hospital Aeromed, as well as Wells Funeral Home.

“This is the second time, since I have been at the school, that we have hosted this event and it has always made an impression on the students,” said Bloomingdale Principal Mark West.

During the hour-long crash simulation conducted and narrated by HCSO Community Outreach Deputy, Paul Alessandri, student actors from Bloomingdale High School were “starring” in the roles of the injured, deceased, impaired as well as some passengers involved in the crash.

“The crash involves an alcohol-related injury, and due to the nature of it, can result in being charged with vehicular manslaughter for those responsible,”  Alessandri told the students that filled the bleachers as they watched the crash and its aftermath unfold.

As part of the crash, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue untangled the scene and cared for the victim’s as the severely injured student was airlifted out by Tampa General Hospital Aeromed, while the deceased student was transported from the scene by Wells Funeral Home.

“It was sad, but very affective,” said Bloomingdale High School junior, Emily Snyder. HCSO has been conducting Mock DUI Crash events for almost a decade, as it visits about for schools per year, if possible accommodating a school safety events such as a buckle-up event, home coming or during holiday season.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the  program will return to Bloomingdale High in a couple of years as it continues making its way through all the local high schools.

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