At 9:00 a.m. Tuesday morning a call went out to dispatchers, a major accident had just happened with multiple vehicles and multiple victims. Several were trapped and possibly dead. Magnolia Fire Department, MCHD, DPS, MCSO and Precinct 3 Constables units responded to Magnolia High School on FM 1488.
They arrived finding multiple cars and serious injuries throughout the scene. Trooper Fountain and Paramedic Tammy Welch went vehicle to vehicle, victim to victim. Several times checking a pulse and yelling to another medic,”Code 4”.
In Montgomery County code 4 is dead.
This was the first of four scenes this year put on by Montgomery County Shattered Lives. Now in it’s twelfth year of educating students in high schools throughout Montgomery County of the dangers of drinking and driving.
As students gathered they watched the scene unfold before them. Fellow classmates made up to look like real injuries. Cars donated the had been in previous crashes to put the victims in for the simulation.
Life Flight was called out as it landed misting everyone with the water that had already gathered on the parking lot from the on and off rains all morning.
Klein Funeral Directors arriving in hearses to load bodies in body bags of several dead students as EMS transported the others to area hospitals.
Precinct 3 Constables units arresting a student on suspicion of DWI and transporting him to the Magnolia Police Department.
Some students looked on visually shaken and emotional. Sheriff Tommy Gage said the scene looked so real, seeing it so many times in real life through his career.
Sgt. Fountain with the Texas Department of Public Safety who has been involved in the program for eight years now since coming to Montgomery County said, “all you saw out here today are first responders that work Montgomery County that to be honest with you are sick and tired of picking our young kids up off the pavement and having to go notify their parents they are not coming home.”
She said there are no words to describe what it is like to have to notify a family member that their loved one has been lost in a motor vehicle accident.. “I live with the sounds of screams and voices in my head that I will take to my grave,” she said.
Shane Davis, a graduate of Magnolia West High School returned to assist in the program seeing how it helped him. When he went through it he was the drunk driver and said it was something unique and gave him a wake up call.
Michael Valdez who has been with the program since the start said the hardest thing about the program is trying to keep it financed. Each of the four programs put on this year cost about $8000 each. With the money tight now donations have slowed. Costs involved include the video which is produced. It is shot by five separate cameras then taken back to Conroe for an entire night of editing to have it ready for all the students the next morning.
The hotel rooms to keep the students together and discuss the scene that happened during the day. The parents of the students that died must write their obituaries to be read the following day for the assembly of the student body. Make-up, cost of meals for the students and staff.
EDITORS NOTE: I have been doing covering accidents for the news media since 1976, before that 4 years with a volunteer fire department I joined while in high school. The scenes Shattered Lives put on are the most life like and real compared to a true scene. Currently Montgomery County has had sixteen fatal accidents this year. Only a small amount have been attributed to driving under the influence. We have lost several young people to speed and inexperience of driving and handling a vehicle and others to motorcycle crashes,most without helmets. This program needs the support of the community and local businesses to continue to educate these students. As you watch the video be aware it is graphic and is something you would not see published from an accident scene but hopefully the images will help these kids and move their parents to sit down and talk with their children.