Mock wreck gets students’ attention as spring break nears
By Marquavia Smith
Sirens blazed and police cars raced to the intersections of Wahnish Way and Gamble Street to the scene of a one-car accident that was witnessed by several students on FAMU’s campus.
The accident, which happened around midday near the busy intersection, took the life of the driver and left two passengers severely injured, although not life-threatening.
More than a handful of students stood witness as the car crashed into a telephone pole.
Police and paramedics arrived quickly on the scene. The scene was horrific enough to prompt some onlookers to tears, especially when they learned that the driver was texting behind the wheel.
It all seemed so real until someone yelled, “Be safe for spring break.”
Eventually onlookers, mostly students, realized what they’d seen was a mock wreck intended to bring awareness to the potential danger that they could face if they don’t practice safe driving during spring break. FAMU and several other universities will begin spring break this weekend.
“This is just one out of many events we have planned for students this week” said Lynette Boater, office of student activities. “We just want to make sure all of our students are aware and safe during their break.”
OSA’s effort to bring awareness didn’t stop with the mock accident. The list of events during a week-long demonstration also focused on safe driving, safe sex and being attentive.
Banners with many safety tips and slogans hung around the campus. Public safety and health officials had plenty of advice to offer, too.
The accident victims were portrayed by actors who made it all seem so real. They yelled and screamed while calling for help.
Once out of character, the actors started laughing. But not everyone saw the humor in what could be a real-life situation.
“Y’all play too much,” said Megan Potts, who saw the entire dramatization. “We understand we don’t need to drink and drive, we understand we need to wear our seat belts, but y’all got to stop doing that, it scared me.
“I really thought something was wrong, I thought someone was really in danger, and the whole time y’all were playing around.”
Keondrea Huggins, who played the dead driver, relished his part, though.
“I loved being a part of the mock wreck,” said Huggins, a volunteer with OSA. “I love the experience of actually going through the wreck, hoping people would look at me and the blood and think about their actions when driving.”
The mock accidents that OSA has done in the past seemingly have proven to be effective, said Boatner. There were no reported accidents involving students, she said.
“I can’t really say if it’s the one thing that’s making people aware and not having accidents, or if it’s just by luck, that no one has had an accident the years that we do it,” she said.