On Thursday, April 26, Altus Fire/Rescue Department with the assistance of Altus Police Department, Jackson County EMS, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and other community agencies and businesses hosted Operation Prom. The realistic event was held behind the Altus High School Auditorium. Operation Prom is a program developed by Altus Fire/Rescue to help expose high school junior and senior students to the travesties of making the choice of driving while under the influence.
With AHS students seated on bleachers, volunteers whipped away plastic sheeting to reveal the scene of a grizzly auto accident. The Altus dispatcher announced on the real radio frequency that there’d been a signal 82 (injury accident) on Park Avenue and Bulldog Lane. Sirens blazed in the distance as muffled screams and groans could be heard in the badly damaged vehicles. Eight Altus High School drama students helped create a full reenactment of a motor vehicle accident.
The driver of one of the vehicles was shown having a hard time passing any of the sobriety field tests being administered by the OHP troopers. The Fire and Rescue was busy aiding the injured while more First Responders used various extracating equipment to get a severely injured person out of one of the vehicles. A distraught father raced to the scene and jumped from his truck. Overcome with emotion, he knocked the handcuffed drunk driver down. Troopers restrained the father and the drunk driver was placed in the back of a trooper unit. As the driver stared bleary-eyed at the scene, one of his friends yelled at him, “How could you be so stupid?”
As the EMS ambulances were loaded with seven injured students, one student was placed in a body bag. The Kincannon hearse was waiting.
Along with the reenactment, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmy Wallace and Altus Fire/Rescue Chief J.R. Wheeler spoke to the students sharing accounts of incidents involving alcohol the Departments have dealt with over the years. Fire Chief J.R. Wheeler said, “Since Operation Prom’s inception, 14 years ago, we have seen a drastic decrease in the amount of incidents involving alcohol and students for this time of the year.”