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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Docudrama stresses consequences of drunk driving

Monday, April 20, 2009

On Thursday, April 16, students of Marilyn Mann's drama class participated in a "Docudrama" to encourage students not to drink and drive. Pictured above, Monett firefighters and EMT's work diligently to stabilize Monett High School senior Karissa Leach, a passenger of the black car pictured in the background. [Times Photos by Darla Damrill]
Monett High School was in the spotlight last Thursday afternoon when authorities were called to the "scene of an accident" in the school's parking lot at around 2 p.m.

Juniors and seniors at Monett High School were instructed over the intercom to assemble outside by the school's parking area. The event started to unfold as students' attention was drawn immediately to the accident and they began congregating around the crumpled car and crash "victims."

Officers with the Monett Police Department were first to arrive at the scene which was set up to look like an actual crash site with students acting as the victims. After a quick evaluation, Sergeant Dennis Camp radioed dispatch reporting several injuries and a possible J4 or fatality.

Authorities with the Monett Fire Department, First Respoders, Barry/Lawrence Ambulance, Missouri State Highway Patrol and Cox Air Care were immediately dispatched to the school.

According to the police scenario, the accident occurred when the southbound vehicle, driven by Robert Leach, a junior at Monett High School, failed to yield to the eastbound vehicle and was struck on the passenger's side.

Kristen Racicot, a senior at Monett High School, was the driver of the eastbound vehicle. Monett High School sophomore Bridgette Renfrow and senior Karissa Leach were passengers in the vehicle driven by Racicot.

Due to the impact, Renfrow was thrown through the windshield and laid across the hood. Both Racicot and Leach were trapped inside the vehicle in critical condition.

Racicot, in shock, hysterically cried out to Renfrow but received no response. Renfrow was pronounced dead at the scene. Her lifeless body was placed in a "body bag" and placed in a hearse. She was transported by Coroner Scott Lakin to the morgue.

Fire personnel and first responders had to cut through the metal of the car, removing doors and the top of the vehicle, to obtain access to the two girls.

Each girl was carefully removed from the vehicle and placed on backboards. Once stabilized, one was transported by ambulance and the other was life-flighted to Springfield by Cox Air Care.

There were two passengers in the southbound vehicle driven by Leach. They were Jacques DuPlessis and Chelsea Ash, both sophomores at Monett. Both were under the influence of alcohol.
After undergoing a sobriety test Leach was "arrested" for driving while intoxicated and minor in possession. DuPlesis was also arrested on a minor in possession charge.

Ash sustained a moderate head injury and DuPlessis sustained only minor injuries. Leach sustained no injuries.

The docudrama was created to provide a visual depiction of what can happen when someone makes the choice to drink and drive.

Each of the students who participated in the event attributed its success to Monett High School drama teacher Marilyn Mann who had organized the enactment.

Credit was also given to law enforcment authorities and emergency response personnel for their part in helping provide students with a realistic view of crash scene.

"This time of year there is a lot of cercern about student safety," said Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann. "We hope that this kind of exercise brings potential reality in the life of kids and helps them with decisions they will make for prom, graduation and in the spring.

"We appreciate the support of the community and the rescue workers to put on an exercise like this. We hope this encourages students to do the right thing," Jungmann added.

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