Bryn Mawr, Lower Merion Township, PA — Between 550 and 600 juniors and seniors from Harriton high school witnessed a mock crash caused by an impaired driver that left one student victim dead and multiple students injured.  Even though the incident was a mock crash, some students were on the verge of tears. The incident was staged in the schools parking lot — this morning.

Driver exiting vehicle was young female lays prone half in and half out the windshield

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“Seeing friends go through the intense experience of the mock accident should help our students think about what they are doing as we go into the prom’s, which start next week,” said Scott Weinstein Principle of Harriton High School. Two years ago we successfully staged a similar incident involving alcohol and this time we’re introducing the use of marijuana.  

The Incident, while entirely scripted was enormously accurate in the portrayal of a head-on collision.  The “Cruisin’ Smart” event was brought to life using student actors and actual first responders from Narberth Ambulance, the Lower Merion Police Department and the rescue personnel from the Bryn Mawr Fire Company.  The Montgomery county coroners’ office played their part in bringing realism to the students.

"Our hope is that this demonstration today rests deep in the minds of the students, so that when it comes time to make decisions behind the wheel they make smarter choices," stated EMS Director Al Davey of Narberth Ambulance


Victims walking around cars after the accident but before help arrives.


At approximately 7:55 the students were assembled.  Many students were standing around the two vehicles which were covered in black tarps.  When the tarps were pulled back, the student actors went into their roles. The students gasped at what they saw.  

The medics from Narberth Ambulance had staged two carloads of student victims.  Makeup depicting bloodied faces and other injuries were shown.

One of the students had been arranged as if she were in the passenger seat not wearing a seatbelt and was lying partially on the hood with her legs dangling over the dashboard.  She had gone through the front windshield. The two cars collided head-on, and one of the drivers was distracted by a text message, and the other had been impaired by marijuana.

“Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, primarily due to inexperience behind the wheel, poor seat belt use and risk-taking behaviors such as speeding and distracted driving,” stated Maureen A.  Hennessey, Director of Mainline Health.



Alcohol and/or drugs can also be a factor in teen crashes, especially during prom and graduation seasons.

The victims were scripted, and some argued over whose fault was the accident, while on driver pretended to cry that she only looked down for a second before the crash. Concerned parents were brought into the chaos and were getting in the way of the first responders.

The police went into investigative mode and moved one driver away from the immediate scene to issue a field sobriety test.

The Rescue crew from Bryn Mawr Fire Company’s Squad 23, used two sets of hydraulic cutting tools to remove the roof of one car while taking two doors off the vehicle.  Narberth’s medics climbed into the car to help stabilize and remove the victims.

The victim that went through the windshield was pronounced dead at the scene by one of Narberth’s EMS physicians that would typically show up at a significant scene like this mock exercise.


Narberth Ambulance EMS Physician Dr, Joe Bushra is on the scene. 

The Montgomery county coroners office took the body of the deceased student from the medics, placed the victim in a body bag and then placed her into the coroner's van.  You could have heard a pin drop with the somber audience looking on.


EMS team passes victim to the coroner's office 


After the scene had been cleared the students were taken inside the auditorium to hear speakers during the Crusin’ Smart assembly.

Sponsors of the event were Mainline Health and State Farm Insurance.  Representatives of both sponsors talked with the students.

Lower Merion Police Officer Charles Farrell was available to the students to answer any questions about their role.


LMPD was well represented at Harriton High today.


Before all of the students had left the parking area a group of about ten students engaged the medics from Narberth Ambulance.  Deputy Chief John Mick, Paramedic, Dr. Joe Bushra, Medical Director/EMS Physician and Paramedic/Executive Director Al Davey answered questions. Many of the questions pertained to how the students could become involved with the EMS services


Deputy Chief John Mick andJoe Bushra talk with students after the mock crash and victim extraction


The Mock Crash opened the students’ eyes to just how easy it is to become severely injured or dead from an accident caused by an impaired driver.  One of their own so to speak.

Main Line Health has pursued grant funding through State Farm to support the Mock Crash initiative, making this year the 12th year of providing the Mock Crash Program.

Today at Harriton High School, the Mock Crash Program was combined with a Cruisin’Smart Program (also funded by State Farm) offered through Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital.

Cruisin’ Smart includes a first-hand account from a survivor of a motor vehicle accident that happened because someone was driving recklessly, driving while distracted, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


Officer Pete Assenmacher assisted in the mock crash event 


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