Manila students cautioned on good choices
Manila High School students witnessed a mock wreck on Friday encouraging them to make the right choices.
Manila Police Officer Jared Camp organized the event in an effort to caution students on the consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drugs, texting and talking on the phone.
Officer Camp expressed his appreciation to all of the volunteers who participated. Bobby Tucker provided the vehicles and Cody Gentry provided the sound system. Others participating were state, county, and local police officers, Emerson Ambulance Service, Howard Funeral Service, Brian Lee and Gary Hill, Manila Police Department, Manila Fire Department, school administrators, parents and students, Air Evac and Hospital Wing, Jimmy Brooks with the Game and Fish, and others. Contributors to the event were The Mirage and Farmers Market.
The fictional scenario was a driver colliding with another vehicle causing three fatalities and others injured. In the mock scene, one of the victims was a first responder's son, and the emotions played out. The drunk driver was portrayed by Dylan Bogle who was given a sobriety test and arrested on the scene.
Victims were taken by ambulance and helicopters. The coroner was also on the scene.
Following the mock wreck, students and teachers gathered in the gymnasium as guest speakers talked to the students. Speakers included Deputy Blake Liscomb with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department; Jackie Hill, Manila Chief of Police; and Jimmie Taylor with MADD.
Deputy Liscomb shared the story of losing his brother and his best friend.
"I've worked a lot of wrecks and too many times the drivers are dead and will still have their cell phones in their hands," he said.
He cautioned the students on texting while driving as well as drinking and driving.
"I don't care if you have only one drink, don't drive," he said. "Call the sheriff's department or your local police, someone will come and get you home safe."
Chief Hill also shared with the students of his own wrong choices to drink and drive many years ago.
"I have to live with it," he said. "My son was only four months old and I made the wrong choice."
He told of his recovery and how difficult it was on his family.
"My brother was on the ambulance that had to pick me up," he said. "He has to live with that. You don't realize how many lives you touch."
Chief Hill encouraged the young people not to drive and drink.
"Call me, I will come and get you home safe," he said.
Jimmie Taylor has been talking to groups for 20 years. She told of the loss of her daughter because of a drunk driver.
"She was 19 and her friend was 21," she said. "They were returning home from the late movie when they were hit by a drunk driver. I learned that night, June 3, 1992, what never means. My daughter would never be coming home."
She also encouraged the young people to make good choices, let their friends and family know how they feel about them and never drive impaired.
"I hope our young people heard the message," Officer Camp said. "It took six months of planning for this, but if it saves one person's life, it is well worth it."