Klamath Falls, Ore. – Students in Klamath County got a shocking look at the dangers of drinking, and distracted driving Monday afternoon.
(We caution that some may find the images of the simulated accident scene disturbing)
Operation Prom Night is a dramatic re-creation of a deadly crash in which four people are killed.
“Several teenagers, who have driven while intoxicated, on prom night – and they are going to crash into a teacher, and other students who are driving distracted because of a cell phone.” Explains Operation Prom Night Spokesperson Lindsay Morgan.
More than a thousand high school students watched the tragedy unfold.
“Guy made a bad decision to drink and drive, put all those other friends in danger.” Notes Mazama High School student Jaydin Kollmar. “And also put the woman driving the other car in danger, too.”
Fire Fighter Leon Speisschaert has been organizing Operation Prom Night in Klamath County since 2010.
While the crash is simulated, the emotions are real.
“It hits pretty hard.” Says Lost River High student Madison Hartman. “Knowing some of them, and having a brother who also has a spinal cord injury.”
Multiple agencies work together on Operation Prom Night, the same way they would in an actual emergency.
And students appear to be getting the message.
“I’m never going to drink and drive.” Kollmar says. “And never text and drive – stay away from that. Do the right thing.”
Operation Prom Night organizers believe their work is paying off.’
Over the past decade, there have been three fatalities from teens driving impaired in Klamath County – which is well below the national average.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.