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LECOM Students Stage Operation Prom

Annual event warns high school students about the dangers of drinking and driving

Bayshore High School students received a sobering reminder about the dangers of drinking and driving thanks to the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Bradenton campus Operation Prom event.

In conjunction with Manatee County emergency operations staff, LECOM’s Emergency Medicine Club staged its annual re-enactment of a drunken driving crash. Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, EMS, Fire Rescue and Bayflite personnel responded to Balvanz stadium as though the crash were real.

“Homecoming King” Daniel Martino is given a field sobriety test during LECOM’s annual Operation Prom event.

Students watched intently from the stands as the scene played out. LECOM students posing as crash victims were positioned in and outside of wrecked cars.

Dialog from a 911 call reporting an auto accident was broadcast over the stadium’s public-address system. Members of the participating emergency service agencies drove onto the field in their vehicles to re-create the procedures in extracting the “victims” from the wreck, rushing them to the hospital and investigating the accident. One of the actors was pronounced “dead” at the scene and transported out of the stadium in a hearse.

A deputy from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office conducted a field sobriety test on the offending driver, who was taken away in handcuffs. A BayFlite helicopter landed at midfield to transport one of the “victims” out of the stadium.

Sgt. Rick Rietz, head of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office DUI task force, told the audience that Florida is third in the nation in DUI-related fatality rates for both adult and underage drivers.

“We want students to see the dangers involved with drinking and driving,” said LECOM student Wendla Alderman, who played the prom queen in the re-enactment. “The consequences of drinking and driving are devastating.”