Arrive Alive Visits Totino-Grace

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Arrive Alive Visits Totino-Grace

Will Hamilton, Editor

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For most of us it began with a loud bang on a rainy Monday afternoon, as a blue tarp was pulled off the cars positioned on the track. What transpired from there would affect so many in this community on a personal level and really challenge what we knew about driving safely.

Preparation for this event began long in advance of Monday. Over a year ago Fridley Police School Resource Officers began working on bringing the Arrive Alive program to the high schools in Fridley. Last year Fridley High School held the simulation with great success and this year it was TG’s turn. Joining the police and the schools in this collaborative effort were Fridley Fire, Allina Health, Schmit Towing, and Miller Funeral Home.

Arrive Alive was a two day program beginning with Monday’s simulation. Twelve student volunteer actors each played roles in the simulation. This simulation was meant to show what it would really be like, as Fridley Police Chief Brian Weierke explained, “What is depicted in the simulation is extremely realistic and accurate, unfortunately our police officers deal with accidents daily, so it can become routine for them.”

Victim Carted Away

Post CrashThere were many powerful moments as the entire sequence played out in front of the student body. Whether it was the panic felt as the friends tried to help those who were unresponsive, or hearing all of this play out over the radio like it was really happening, there really was something everyone could take from the event.

Tuesday’s assembly served as the second day of the program and demonstrated the consequences of Monday’s simulation. We already knew senior Miranda Nichols, had been declared dead on arrival, however we found out Senior, Anna McGrath, who has been in critical condition had also died. A casket positioned front and center made sure the students never forgot the seriousness of the situation.

The second phase started with what many consider to be the most powerful part of the entire program. As Miranda’s mom and Anna’s dad read eulogies as if their children had actually died. Hearing them talk about how much they would miss them and all the friends and family they would be leaving behind brought many to tears.

Anna was not in attendance but could only imagine how hard it must have been on her dad. “[to write] a speech about your child that supposedly died. Even having to think about it would be difficult.” The entire process was very taxing for all the students involved for Anna it was “seeing how it was affecting my parents and my sister.”

Following the eulogies a prosecutor spoke about the realism of the whole simulation and discussed the daunting legal ramifications of this type of situation. He then played a video which went beyond the simulation and showed Anna’s death at the hospital as her family and friends reacted and Tyler’s court hearing following his arrest for driving intoxicated and his greater role in the crash. His sentence of years in prison surprised many on just how severe the punishment is. From the perspective of a student it can be hard to think of this kind of trial applying to someone for one mistake, but it is a reality that Arrive Alive showed.

Police and Coffin

Chief Weierke speaks to students during Tuesday’s assembly.

 

 

The event provided all of Totino-Grace’s students insight into the privilege of driving a vehicle and what it truly means to take this privilege seriously. Chief Weierke would like to give a special thanks to the commitment taken on by the school resource officers in particular SRO Mark Mickelson. He would also like to note that the timing of the program was intentional. With Prom and graduation coming up he wants to make sure we have this in the back of our minds and that we take it beyond the walls of the school and spread what we went through in this program with friends and family so that they can understand the dangers as well.