Students get 'Keys to Life'
As 1,000 Maiden High School students walked to Tom Brown Stadium on Thursday, they quickly realized they weren't about to watch a football game.
Sure, they got out of class for school presentations at their stadium before, but they had never seen anything like this.
A white and black heap of metal that once resembled a Dodge Neon sat motionless near the 50 yard line on the field. Inside, senior Lauren Sizemore and junior Justin Ford were hunched over a bent steering wheel and dashboard, blood still running down their cheeks. Junior Dustin Hipps was ejected through the windshield of the car and was barely moving.
Senior Amber Munday was also thrown from the car, but was dead — or at least playing dead.
Though seeming eerily realistic, the students' car crash was only a reenactment of an event that parents, like Angie Bass, know too well.
Bass, whose son was killed by a drunk driver in 2002, was the keynote speaker at Thursday's Keys to Life re-enactment at Maiden High School.
She told students her personal story, hoping to make an impact on the students' lives.
"What happened to me affects me daily, and that's just the physical side," Bass told the students. "As you go through life, I hope you will remember the 7-year-old that died from speed, drugs and alcohol."
Nine years ago, Bass was driving her son to school around 7:45 a.m. when a pick-up truck slammed into her Ford Mustang. When Bass collected herself and called for her son, there was no response.
Her son, Zack Davis, was unconscious and choking on his own blood.
After taking Bass to a local hospital, her son was transferred to Wake Forest Baptist Memorial hospital in Winston-Salem, where he eventually died of complications from the accident.
The driver of the pickup truck who hit Bass' car had cocaine and Xanax in his system, as well as a .17 blood alcohol content.
Bass is now part of Catawba County Mothers Against Drunk Driving and educates students about the dangers of driving while impaired.
The Keys to Life event is held once a year at three local high schools and is sponsored by Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Catawba County. To help simulate an actual wreck scene, representatives from Maiden Fire Department, Maiden Rescue Squad, Maiden Police Department, N.C. Highway Patrol and Hickory Police Department all contributed officers and vehicles to the re-enactment.
A MedCenterAir helicopter was also used to take one of the "injured" students away.
Eric Farr is an assistant district attorney and representative with ASAP.
"We hope to have an impact on students, so when they're put in a potentially dangerous situation, they can know what to do," Farr said.
And though all the Maiden students walked away from the demonstration OK, Bass reiterated to students what driving under the influence can do.
"We took the driver to trial and he was convicted of second-degree murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon," Bass said.