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Parkston hosts mock car crash to highlight the dangers of distracted driving

PARKSTON -- Thanks to an idea dreamed up by one Parkston High School student, approximately 180 students learned the dangers of distracted driving Monday.

From left to right, Jonah Murtha, Sammi Murtha and Parkston Police Officer Corrinna Wagner participate in a mock car crash at Parkston High School on Monday. (Submitted photo)
From left to right, Jonah Murtha, Sammi Murtha and Parkston Police Officer Corrinna Wagner participate in a mock car crash at Parkston High School on Monday. (Submitted photo)

PARKSTON - Thanks to an idea dreamed up by one Parkston High School student, approximately 180 students learned the dangers of distracted driving Monday.

According to Parkston teacher and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America adviser Stephanie Gelderman, senior Brooklyn Van Zee led the charge to host a mock car crash outside the Parkston school on Monday. Gelderman said Van Zee wanted to spread the message about the hazards of texting while driving to her fellow students.

"The idea was just to give the kids a first-hand idea of what the consequences of distracted driving can be," Gelderman said.

Three other Parkston students joined Van Zee in re-enacting a car crash, and the mock crash was viewed by all Parkston students from grades 6-12. The Parkston Police Department, Parkston Fire Department and local EMT service also participated in the event, along with the Koehn Bros. Funeral Home.

The mock crash was also staged with the help of a local automotive repair shop, which provided two wrecked vehicles, and Dakota Wesleyan University students, who provided stage makeup for participants.

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Tim Weidenbach, of Higher Power Sports, was also invited to speak to students during an assembly following the mock crash. According to Gelderman, Weidenbach was invited to share his story of the death of his cousin, Andrea Boeve, in a crash involving a distracted driver.

"The statistics on distracted driving are really high, and so letting kids know that it is something that is a big deal and that it is important to put down their phone every time they get behind the wheel," Gelderman said.

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