Not an Accident, but a Preventable Tragedy: CKHS Class of ‘23 Witnesses Mock Crash

CKHS seniors come face to face with death as they watch the annual mock crash, and administration urges students to drive responsibly.


Jada Cowley

An unconscious Kennedy Threadgold is carried away on a stretcher by one of the firemen on scene.

by Jada Cowley, Reporter, Assistant Editor

Readers may find some images depicting a mock car crash disturbing.

As prom season approaches, Central Kitsap High School warns students against driving while impaired by holding its annual “mock crash.” 

A mock crash is a staged reenactment of a fatal car collision, featuring emergency response personnel and students from the school as actors. The simulation, while intense, is meant to realistically depict the consequences of driving while drunk, distracted, or otherwise impaired, and encourage students to make responsible decisions.

This year’s mock crash took place on the morning of May 31. Seniors were dismissed from class at 8 a.m. to first attend a presentation regarding upcoming graduation events and information. Prior to being led out to the side of the school, students were forewarned that the subject matter would be heavy and emotional. 

Seniors lined the small hill positioned in front of the parking lot across from the CTE building to spectate the mock crash, which began at 9 a.m. and lasted approximately an hour. After a short introduction from CKHS Principal Craig Johnson and Marsha Masters, two cars were unveiled and the reenactment began. 

Students Khazzi Villanueva, Sophie Driskell, and Zavion Stringer exited their car and rushed to aid their injured friend, Kia Fleischer, who laid motionless on the road. Jett Sweeney and Kaeden Hammond had an unconscious passenger, Kennedy Threadgold, in their car. In the simulation, the drivers from both cars had gotten in an accident after leaving their Senior Prom because they had been driving irresponsibly – one had been drinking and the other was distracted by their phone. 

Driskell quickly called 911, and law enforcement arrived on site within minutes. Kyle Bahl, a state trooper, narrated all of the emergency responders’ actions and processes for the audience throughout the duration of the simulation. Bahl, along with many of the other speakers at the event, greatly emphasized the fact that the crash was not an “accident” – it was a preventable tragedy. 

“When we leave this scene, we don’t leave this behind,” said Bahl. “It comes with us. It comes home every night.” 

Firefighters, an ambulance, and a coroner would additionally show up on scene. Law enforcement determined one of the drivers was impaired after conducting a DUI test and placed him in custody for vehicular homicide. Threadgold was extracted from the passenger seat of the car by the firefighters and rushed off the scene in an ambulance. 

Fleischer was confirmed dead, and a coroner removed the body and read her obituary to the audience. Though the students were acting, none of their names were altered. The emergency responders, all of whom were local to the area, conducted their roles in the mock crash with such accuracy that the footage of the simulation is used for training. 

“They asked me about it, and I was just like, I think it’d be a great way to show people that this is a serious problem and we need to stop doing it, so I just wanted to be a part of that,” said Threadgold. “We didn’t have any rehearsals. We just went to meetings, and then today we did the real thing.”

Audio of Fleischer reading a poem written from the perspective of a victim of drunk driving played, and Ricki Brooks gave a personal anecdote about the loss he experienced because of a drunk driver. Before being dismissed back to class, students in the audience were given the opportunity to come down to the crash site, talk to the participants, and ask questions. 

“I feel like it was a very well organized and well showcased example of what happens when people irresponsibly drink and the accidents and consequences that result due to those actions,” said Jayden Berg, a CKHS senior. 

Dahl got to experience the mock crash as a student in the audience during his senior year at the school. Now, he’s been in collaboration with CKHS for approximately eight years. 

“I did Klahowya’s back in 2017 or 2018, something like that,” said Dahl. “I was approached by a student a few months later that said a bunch of the prom parties got canceled because of this, so we hope that that continues and people make good choices.”