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Teens see aftermath of drinking & driving
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Firefighters and other first responders to a simulated horrific crash on the track of the Manteca High stadium used the Jaws of Life to rescue trapped students and remove the bodies of those who didnt survive.

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The annual Every 15 Minutes depiction of a tragic crash that could realistically involve seniors celebrating their graduation next month had an unusually somber tone as it came less than a week after a Manteca High freshman had been killed by a distracted driver.

Graduating seniors from Manteca, Sierra and East Union high schools were brought to the 10 a.m. drama Thursday at the Buffalo stadium after the “grim reapers” and police officers had already removed the dead from their classrooms and left obituaries on their desks. .

Two vehicles – an SUV and a passenger car – with students trapped inside on the school track “crashed” in front of 1,200 seniors sitting in the stadium seats. Manteca Police Sergeant Chris Mraz served as the emcee. He told students that after going through the educational E-15 event they should be well aware that drinking and driving could easily result in death on the highway.

Any student drivers found guilty of DUI after a crash would be charged with second degree murder. Sgt. Mraz urged the students to focus on the timeline it took the first responders to reach the scene following a 911 call as the victims lay injured and suffering from the crash. 

It was some three to five minutes that the first motorcycle officers using red lights and sirens entered through the gates of the stadium. They were soon followed by an ambulance and fire trucks as first responders assessed the scene as to who was the most injured.

Firefighters went into action using the Jaws of Life to remove trapped individuals from an SUV that had rolled on its side and had smoke coming from its engine compartment. The most critically injured was transported to a trauma center by an air ambulance helicopter while others were loaded into waiting ambulances. Parents met their children at the emergency rooms and identified them after the white sheets covering their faces were removed.

A Sheriff’s coroner checked the bodies and declared them dead at the scene. They were loaded into a hearse before the crowd. As the vehicle drove off the field, the “living dead” students with their faces painted followed the hearse and a “grim reaper.”

Battalion Chief Dave Marques told the crowd that a crash of Thursday’s magnitude in real life would require three helicopters to transport the injured – one wouldn’t be enough. More than 100 of the “living dead” were taken to the Crossroads Church on Moffat for a retreat after the crash scenario where they heard motivational talks from the CHP, a prosecuting attorney and Superior Court Judge Tony Agbiani. 

This morning there will be a funeral for those who died in an area church with the 1,200 students attending. Parents will watch through a live televised feed at P.L. Fry & Son Mortuary on Union Road where they will see the crash scenario revisited and hear the possible legal ramifications that follow.