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Mock wreck touts teen driver safety
Ghost Out pic
Firefighter Paul Cloud counsels Dawson County High School student Kelly Taylor during a staged car wreck outside the school April 20. - photo by Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

To get a point across, sometimes it takes dramatic measures.


That’s the idea behind Ghost Out, a yearly dramatization outside the high school. Emergency services volunteers staged a tragic car wreck involving several students, who played the parts of distracted drivers and passengers.


Hundreds of students quietly observed.


Dawson County High School Principal Neil Harrison said it was “an opportunity to have juniors and seniors reflect on what happens when we make mistakes in our judgment.”


Harrison said the staged wreck April 20 was shown to students shortly before prom “so that people can have a chance to think about things.”


Prom was held April 24.


Billy Thurmond, emergency services director, said the main goal was “to get them to recognize that just because they’re young doesn’t mean they’re not going to get hurt. They need to recognize that things go wrong in a second, and it changes lives for a lifetime.”


Student participant Logan Porter said it was an “intense experience.” Porter played the part of an injured passenger in one of the vehicles.


Fellow actor Jonathan Fountain agreed. He lost a friend as the result of a vehicle accident two years ago. He fought back tears following the Ghost Out event.


“It didn’t hit me until a few minutes ago,” Fountain said.


Coroner Ted Bearden helped drive the message home April 21. He spoke at the high school on the value of safety. Harrison said Bearden did a good job.


“You could hear a pin drop in that audience,” Harrison said.


Ghost Out was sponsored by Students Against Drunk Driving, while the message of this year’s event took aim at the dangers of text messaging while driving.