By EVAN REID
IRON RIVER - A multi-agency disaster drill held Friday at the Iron County Fairgrounds in Iron River served to train and prepare rescue and law enforcement agencies for such an incident - and remind high school students just how important safety behind the wheel can be.
Iron County Emergency Services conducted the drill, staging a roll-over accident involving a school bus and a small car.
More than 20 passengers were trapped inside of the bus, which had been tipped over and was lying on its side.
As law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene, they worked together to save as many lives as possible in the full-scale simulation.
Firefighters gained access to both vehicles, and victims with various injuries were extracted and placed in ambulances.
An Aspirus Medevac helicopter arrived following the initial response, landing in a field near the scene to pick up critically injured patients.
A Michigan State Police trooper took the driver of the car into custody after performing field sobriety tests.
Not all of the victims survived in the drill, with five receiving "fatal" injuries.
Tom Bucek, emergency medical services manager of Northstar Health System, spoke to Forest Park High School and West Iron County High School students as they watched the mock accident unfold from the grandstand of the rodeo arena.
Bucek stressed the consequences, sometimes deadly, of distracted and intoxicated driving.
"It can wait. Your friends can wait. Whatever it is, it can wait," Bucek said in reference to using a cell phone while on the road. "I've seen this kind of thing happen for real, and it's not worth it."
Participating agencies included the Michigan State Police, Iron County Sheriff's Department, Iron County Search and Rescue, Iron River Police Department, Alpha-Mastodon Fire Department, Caspian-Gaastra Fire Department, Crystal Falls Fire Department, West Iron County Fire Department, Beacon Ambulance, and Northstar EMS.
Evan Reid's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.