By BRAD KELLAR
Students at Greenville High School and Greenville Christian School were witnesses Tuesday to a horrific scene.
Several of their fellow students were either killed or critically injured as the result of drinking and driving, while two others were taken into custody and now face trial on charges in connection with the deaths.
The Shattered Dreams program will continue this morning with a memorial assembly in the Greenville High School gymnasium in honor of those who “died” in the mock but very realistic crash scene.
The idea behind Shattered Dreams, sponsored by DrugFree Greenville, is to help the students at the schools learn to make the right decisions and to see what can happen if they make the wrong ones.
Morgan Hargrave, a student at Greenville Christian School, was among those who became emotional while watching the event.
“It makes me crazy to see all these people hurt, due to people not caring and drinking and driving,” she said.
“I think it’s sad, that they got in a wreck,” said Greenville High School student Robert Cozine, who also was affected by the events which transpired at the school during the day. “It was pretty scary.”
At 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, the Greenville Police Department dispatch was notified of a multi-vehicle crash on the Greenville High School parking lot.
Officers with the police department, the Texas Department of Public Safety joined members of the Greenville Fire-Rescue Department and paramedics with American Medical Response in arriving on the scene.
There they discovered a Ford Focus, a Toyota Corolla and a Kia Forte had collided in the parking lot, with bodies found inside the vehicles and on the pavement. One boy was lodged in the windshield of a vehicle.
“We have a total of nine people hurt,” said Greenville Police Lt. C. J. Crawford, who said the drivers of two of the vehicles were reportedly racing along Monty Stratton Parkway before entering the parking at the high school at a high rate of speed and colliding with the third car.
“And they also struck four pedestrians,” Crawford said.
The drivers of the two vehicles which were racing were not among those injured, Crawford said, and were taken into custody at the scene, where they were taken to the Greenville Police Department to be booked in on suspicion of driving under the influence.
“And intoxication manslaughter, probably,” Crawford added.
At least one empty beer can was found at the scene, while DPS officers checking out one of the vehicles found a cooler on the front seat with several more beer cans inside.
Four patients were transported from the location by ambulance to the Hunt Regional Medical Center in Greenville, while a fifth was taken to the hospital by Air-Evac Lifeteam helicopter.
Two of the students were pronounced dead at the accident location. A third student was pronounced deceased at the hospital. Neither the names of the deceased nor those of the individuals were immediately released, pending the notification of next of kin and the filing of charges in the incident.
“It’s crazy,” said Sarah Aly with Greenville High School, as she watched the scene unfold. “You never know how long you are going to live or the last thing you are going to say to people.”
Mya Hudgeons was standing nearby and agreed with Aly.
“You should think how your actions are going to affect everyone else,” Hudgeons said.
“You want your kids to be more careful,” added Cecil Brown.
Upon arriving back to their classes, the students watched a news conference, at which time Crawford gave details of the crash, including the number of dead and wounded and word that the suspects had been arrested.
Announcements were made four times an hour throughout the day over the high school’s public address system, representing the individuals killed by drunk/drugged drivers every 15 minutes.
Students at the high school heard obituaries for the students “killed” in the crash, who spent the night away from their families.
The memorial service will take place starting at 10 a.m. today.
Shattered Dreams will conclude at 7 p.m. Thursday with a mock trial of the individual charged in connection with the accident.