Senior Trooper Doug Cutts has lost count of the number of fatal car accidents he’s responded to during more than 27 years of service.
This is why Cutts, along with numerous other first responders, medical personnel and other accident responders, volunteered their time Tuesday morning to partake in a mock crash at Newton Senior High School.
“We’re the ones that get called in to do the bad stuff,” Cutts said.
As part of the mock crash, two student’s acted as dead victims of a car crash from a drunk driver. While one victim was being life-flighted from the helicopter that made an appearance in the Newton Senior High School parking lot, the driver of one of the vehicles was administered field sobriety tests and eventually placed under arrest. After first responders left the scene, the coroner took the bodies away.
While this was all pretend, Cutts said the lessons to take away from the mock crash are real. Cutts said the purpose of the mock crash was to instill the importance of safe driving.
“Nobody’s immune,” Cutts said. “They’re inexperienced. Nothing wrong with that. We all were inexperienced at one time, and driving is a lifelong experience. I don’t know everything, driver’s ed instructors don’t know everything because everyday is different, and every time you drive, something different is going to happen.”
Cutts said most of the fatal car accidents used to involve alcohol, but in his years of experience he’s seen that trend change.
“The alcohol is not as high up as it used to be,” Cutts said. “We’re getting more of the reckless driving, the speed, the district driving, the cell phones, the multiple kids.”
On Jan. 1,2014, Cutts said the laws will change so 16- and 17-year-olds can only have one non-family passenger in their vehicle, making the roads safer for teens and everyone.
“I’ve dealt with countless fatality crashes,” Cutts said. “We’re usually the first ones there or the second ones there. We’re medically trained. We’re going to go in there and do what we can until the fire and rescue get there.”
The mock crash was the culmination of more than a year of planning with Life Flight and Methodist and Skiff hospitals.
After seeing the mock crash, junior Elizabeth Pearson encouraged everyone to be safe on the road.
“The crash is really realistic, and it kind of shows what you should look for and expect and take responsibility for your actions,” she said. “You need to make sure you’re safe on the road and you care about what’s going on.”
The mock crash was demonstrated for students to promote safety during the week of Homecoming.
“I just want everyone to be aware that it can happen to anybody,” Cutts said. “No one’s immune to it. We just want everyone to slow down and take your time.”
Staff writer Dave Hon may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.