Times video of mock crash goes viral
When Ozark County Emergency Medical Tech-nician Brian Morgan began organizing the March 29 mock car crash to be held at Gainesville High School, his goal was to make an impact on the students who would be watching it unfold. What he wasn’t expecting was that a video of the event would touch so many lives in addition to those who witnessed it firsthand.
“I am very surprised it has had the impact it has had on so many people,” Morgan told the Times Monday. “It makes me proud...and feel that we all made a difference. I’m blessed to have had the involvement of everyone who worked together on this.”
At press time Tuesday, the Ozark County Times video of the mock crash posted on Facebook had reached more than 309,600 people, including 225,000 viewers who watched some portion of the video and 4,600 viewers who watched the 10-minute video in its entirety. More than 3,000 people reacted to the post, and nearly 2,000 viewers shared it, generating more than 700 comments from people around the world. More views and interactions are accumulating each day.
The mock crash featured informally scripted acting performances by GHS students, who portrayed the crash victims, along with their parents, a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper, Ozark County Sheriff Darrin Reed and deputies, Gainesville Volunteer Fire Department and other Ozark County first responders, Ozark County Ambulance personnel, an Air Evac crew and helicopter, Clinkingbeard Funeral Home staff members, and two wrecked cars brought in by a tow truck provided by Duke’s Truck Repair and Towing.
Morgan’s goal for the event, which was held the day before prom, was to give students a realistic look at what could happen as a result of drunk or distracted driving. The mock crash “script” had Gainesville student Eli Amyx acting as a drunk driver who caused a major collision with another car in which Garrett Morgan acted as the driver with Natalie Kiger as his passenger. Students Blakely Morrison, and Peyton and Cody portrayed other passengers involved in the crash. In the portrayal, Natalie died at the scene, and Garrett sustained serious injuries that later led to his death in a pretend ER scene that played out in the school gymnasium after the students witnessing the scenario moved inside. Amyx was “arrested” at the scene by Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Britt.
Many Facebook viewers who did not read the caption explaining the post believed the scene was real when they watched it. Others who were aware that the video showed a scripted event said they were still deeply affected by watching it.
“I knew this was a mock crash and still I cried! This is a good lesson to anyone, because it could happen so fast!” Marty Wray posted.
Other viewers shared stories and photos related to real distracted- or drunk-driving accidents, including crashes in which family members had been killed or badly injured.
“My son was two when we were hit head on by a driver on her phone. My son, now 12, is alive, but the impact was so severe that the back seat broke, still throwing him into the back of the passenger’s seat. He was airlifted to the Children’s Hospital, where they had to cut a slit to his forehead to push the fluid out of his head. He also sustained a broken nose and an orbital fracture,” viewer Tina Allen of Rocky Point, North Carolina, posted last week. “My life forever changed that day also. I can’t get in a car with someone other than myself driving without panicking….Please don’t drink and drive, and also put those phones down until you get to your designation. Think smart. Make the right choice. Don’t take a life or alter one by your choice.”