JULIA ROBERTS GOAD
NAUGATUCK - A staged “accident” scene turned into a real emergency situation Thursday afternoon when a student acting as a victim was injured during a false “extraction” at Tug Valley High School.
The Tug Valley chapter of the STOP coalition stages car wrecks at high schools during prom season to illustrate the dangers of drinking and driving on prom night. Actual cars that have been damaged in accidents are used, and student-actors volunteer to get in the cars as drivers and play the victims of the “accident.”
Two cars were staged in front of the school, with two accident victims in each car. The Kermit Volunteer Fire Department and Mingo County Emergency Services were on scene, caring for the “victims” as the Tug Valley student body watched.
One of the victims, TVHS senior Katilyen Mullins, posed as the driver of one of the cars, and had been pronounced “dead” on the scene. Katilyen was behind the wheel, and had been covered with a sheet while KVFD personnel worked to remove the back driver’s side door from the vehicle with the Jaws of Life.
The blade of the cutters of the Jaws of Life, which resemble pruners used to cut small branches from trees, broke off, striking Katilyen in the head.
EMS personnel attended to Katilyen’s injuries and transported her to Williamson Memorial Hospital.
The broken blade was the result of what EMS personnel on the scene called a freak accident.
“I have been doing this for 40 years and I have never seen anything like it,” Tim Preece, with the KVFD, said.
“It could have happened anywhere, to anybody,” KVFD Chief Eric Sartin said. “It just broke of and came around and struck her, with no warning.”
Katilyen’s mother told the Daily News that, after tests, her daughter received seven stitches and was released. Although doctors said she could not use styling products on her hair, Katilyen will still attend the TVHS prom this Saturday.
“I am not angry,” her mother said. “I’m just so grateful that she is alright. I don’t blame anyone, everyone has been so good. Mr. Branch (the principal at TVHS) has been here at the hospital, and I’m just thankful.”