Cambridge Fire Protection District, in conjunction with the Cambridge Ambulance Service, Cambridge Fire Department and the Cambridge High School J. Kyle Braid Foundation, sponsored Operation Prom Party Friday, April 8, at the school.


    Cambridge Fire Protection District, in conjunction with the Cambridge Ambulance Service, Cambridge Fire Department and the Cambridge High School J. Kyle Braid Foundation, sponsored Operation Prom Party Friday, April 8, at the school.

    The program featured a mock car accident involving teenage drinking after prom, with students portraying the victims.

    The purpose of the “crash” is to make young people aware of what transpires at an accident scene beginning with the extrication of victims. Henry County Sheriff Deputy Brian Haars was on the scene to give the teen “drunk driver a/k/a C. J. DeKezel” a field sobriety test.

    The Cambridge Ambulance Service appeared to treat the “victims” and transport them to a local hospital for treatment of their “injuries”.,

    The Med Force emergency helicopter arrived on the scene to transport Ashley Kruger to the nearest trauma center.

    One victim, Samantha Stevenson, was pronounced “dead at the scene” by Henry County coroner David Johnson.

    “We felt that if we can change the life of just one of these young adults, all of our time and energy won’t be wasted,” said Christine Wexell, Operation Prom Party 2011 coordinator.

    According to Wexell, alcohol-related highway accidents are the number one killer of 15-to 24-year olds. Every five seconds a teenager has a drug-or-alcohol-related traffic crash.

    “Homecoming, prom and graduation parties are a dangerous time for a young adult,” Wexell said.

    She also pointed out the dangers of speeding and texting while driving.

    “Unfortunately, for many teenagers, the statistics  are just abstract numbers with no relationship to their reality.

    “They do not see the wrecked cars, the broken and bloody bodies, and the grieving family and friends that are the reality behind the number of teen fatalities,” she said. “When you are a teenager, you feel immortal and that death happens to someone else.”

    Following the mock crash, two guest speakers spoke to the group of students attending. They were Tim Carlson of Geneseo and his mother, Cathy Carlson. They also showed pictures of the accident site.

    Tim was the only survivor of a car crash which killed three of his best friends in the fall of 2000.

    Carlson who was a sophomore at Geneseo High School and his friends were trying to see how fast they could go when they lost control of their car.

    Carlson said he was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to the hospital in Peoria with severe injuries. Every bone that connected his spinal cord to his ribs was broken. He also suffered injuries to his brain, kidney, spleen and liver. Both of his legs were broken, pieced together later by rods, pins and screws.

    No alcohol or drugs were involved in the Carlson accident.

    “We were just out trying to have a little fun,” he said. “It is hard to imagine how one night can change your entire life. Be smart and always think twice. No one is invincible.”

    He talked about how hard it was for him to be the only survivor.

    His mom talked about how the boys got together to work on a class project and what it was like learning that her son was the only survivor in a horrible accident that killed three others.

    “When we arrived in Peoria, which seemed like an eternity, we saw seven or eight doctors and nurses, trying their best to keep our son alive,” she said. “He had about eight different iv’s hooked up to him.”

    Cathy went on to say that they thank the Lord everyday that he did not take Tim as well.