CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Anette Aga was made up yesterday as a passenger critically injured in a crash involving a drunken driver. The mock crash was staged with fake blood and real-time emergency response in front of 1,200 Kaimuki High students to demonstrate the dangers of drinking and driving. CLICK FOR LARGE
Kaimuki students stage a deadly crash in a first-ever dramatic summertime warning
A POOL of fake blood surrounded two pedestrians and the passenger of a pickup truck.
Empty beer bottles and cans littered the street.
Seated in the pickup, a passenger played by another student wailed in pain.
The mock car crash and funeral staged yesterday by students at Kaimuki High School aimed to drive home the dangers of drinking and driving as graduation celebrations and the summer season draw near.
The program, "Mock Car Crash Shattered Dreams Hawaii: Be Smart, Don't Start," was a student project by junior Traci Taniguchi that gained support from school officials and city agencies.
Officials of the Honolulu Liquor Commission worked closely with peer education coordinator Josette Kaleolani Akim and student peer educators Taniguchi and Chelsea McKee to create the mock crash. Also involved were the Honolulu Police Department, Honolulu Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services, the Department of the Medical Examiner and Borthwick Mortuary.
"We really wanted to make it as real as possible," McKee said of the project, a first in Honolulu.
About 1,200 students watched the drama unfold. Also attending were city and state officials, including Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, a leading advocate against underage drinking.
Student Litia Vave played an underage drunken driver who fled after the pickup truck she was driving struck two student pedestrians, played by Taniguchi and Raven Matsushita, on the street in front of the school.
Students Erin Rios and Anette Aga played two passengers who suffered critical injuries in the crash.
A 911 police dispatch call blared through loudspeakers as students watched and listened. Solo bike officers arrived, followed by fire rescue and paramedics.
White cloths were draped over Taniguchi and Matsushita.
Officers from the HPD Traffic Division and members of the Department of the Medical Examiner investigated the crash before Taniguchi and Matsushita were taken away in body bags.
A group of police officers then enacted the arrest of Vave. Finally, a white hearse proceeded slowly down Kaimuki Avenue.
Taniguchi, chairwoman of the project, observed a mock crash scene last year at a National Student Safety Program in Oklahoma. She said she thought the scene would serve as a strong visual message for her fellow students.
"I thought that having a visual is a more powerful way than just having posters up and just telling people you can die from drinking and driving and speeding and racing," she said.
Kapolei High School plans to hold the program in November. Roosevelt High and Kahuku High and Intermediate also expressed interest in staging crash scenes at their schools.
A group of Kaimuki students, the Bulldog Pep Posse, filmed the mock crash scene to create a video that, if approved, will be distributed to other public schools on Oahu.