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Journey Unknown Scene 1

Journey Unknown


Journey Unknown at West Branch High School- April 2012

The Journey is a demonstration of what happens during a drunk driving accident. The Journey, by far, has the most profound impact on it’s audience of any public awareness campaign that JCAS does. Four teenagers are in a motor vehicle accident with alcohol involved. A mock accident is held each spring in the week prior to prom for audiences of local high school students. All of the high school students are involved in the assembly, which is performed on a rotating basis in the area schools. Each school hosts the Journey Unknown once every other year. The Journey Unknown is coordinated by JCAS Field Supervisor Bob Libby.

Green Button  THE STORY
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The Journey Unknown begins with four teenagers at a party where alcohol is served. All four have been drinking at this party. They decide to leave to go home. The person that drives the car has a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. The driver is visibly impaired, but his friends allow him to drive anyhow. On the way home, the driver swerves to avoid a mysterious "black dog" in the road. Two cars collide in a head-on crash in the middle of the road.

Green Button  THE SETTING
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Journey Unknown Scene 2Two cars are placed in an open area of the school grounds where the demonstration will be performed. The cars are provided by a local salvage yard and are crushed in areas that would be damaged in this sort of collision. The students are led from classes to this scene. The assembly of students are placed in an area near the scene in order to view the action taking place.



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Journey Unknown Scene 4Actors selected by the teachers of the area high schools. These students, after being made-up with realistic looking injuries are placed in the accident scene, representing the victims of this tragic collision. Two cars are placed in an open area in the school grounds. The assembly of the audience of students is gathered to begin the demonstration.

All public safety agencies that would normally be involved in this type of motor vehicle accident, participate in the rescue of the actors. The agencies involved include the Johnson County Ambulance Service, Johnson County Sheriffs Office, Iowa City Police Department, Rescue--52, AirCare Helicopter, Local fire departments and first responders, and a local funeral service provides a hearse. The deputies or police arrive first, along with First Responders and Fire Departments. Realism is stressed in the demonstration.


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Journey Unknown Scene 3All of the rescue units involved wait in an area out of sight of the student assembly. The action begins with the drunken driver that caused the accident looking over the damage that occurred to the vehicles. In the same order as a normal accident, units begin to arrive on the scene and carry out their respective duties.

The First Responder units are the first to arrive on scene and they begin to treat the critical patients for injuries. Every patient is examined to determine the severity of their injuries. Oxygen is administered to each of the victims. The First Responders find one of the victims without a pulse and begin CPR. The First Responders determine that the AirCare helicopter and a second ambulance will be needed to transport another of the victims. They call on the radio and have the helicopter and ambulance dispatched to the scene. The fire department arrives and sets up an area for the helicopter’s landing zone.

The victims are treated simultaneously, making the scene appear as chaotic as it would during accidents of this type. Two ambulances arrive from JCAS. The Rescue Unit from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department arrives and begins work to free the trapped victims from the cars. The AirCare Helicopter takes off from the University Hospitals. A Deputy arrives in a squad car.

Green Button  THE VICTIMS
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Journey Unknown Scene 5The first victim appears to be the most critically injured. This person was thrown free of the car because they were not wearing a seatbelt. Paramedics begin work on this patient as soon as they arrive. First Responders have already begun to do CPR on this victim. Two IV’s are begun on this patient to replace the blood loss the patient has sustained. To protect the victim’s spine, he is placed on a backboard and an immobilization collar is fitted around the victim’s neck. Then the patient has a endotracheal tube placed to assist with the patient’s breathing. The Paramedics begin to administer cardiac drugs through the IV as the move the victim to the ambulance. The helicopter has not landed yet, so the first victim is transported by a JCAS ambulance.

The second victim still remains trapped within the car. The deputies from the rescue unit are still working on removing the door of the car with the Jaws of Life. This patient is also critical with head and chest injuries. IV’s are started and an immobilization collar is placed while the person is being freed from the car. The AirCare helicopter has arrived and the flight nurses begin to help with the patient. The door to the car is opened and the person is placed on a backboard and taken to the awaiting helicopter, which flies off transporting the victim to the hospital.

Green Button  THE DRIVER
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Journey Unknown Scene 6Meanwhile, the deputies locate the driver of the car that caused the crash. This person has not sustained any injuries. The driver is put through the common sobriety tests and fails. The driver is placed in handcuffs and arrested. He is seated in the back of the deputy’s squad car and taken to jail. Most students realize that there is a consequence for driving while intoxicated, but they don’t realize the human toll that drunk driving takes.



Green Button  D.O.A.
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Journey Unknown Scene 7The fourth person at the accident is determined to have sustained injuries that are incompatible with life and no resucation is performed. This patient is covered with a sheet by the First Responders when they arrive. After the scene has been cleared of victims, the dead victim is loaded into a body bag. Then, the dead victim is loaded by the funeral home into a hearse to be taken to the morgue.



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Journey Unknown Scene 8The student assembly is moved to the auditorium where a simulated emergency room awaits the students, which is staffed by Nurses from Mercy Hospital. The patient in the ambulance remains in cardiac arrest. There is a radio placed in the auditorium for the students to hear the JCAS Paramedics attempts to resuscitate the victim. The resuscitation effort is continued as the paramedics bring the patient into the emergency room. The patient is worked on, but it is without hope.

The patient is finally pronounced dead, by the physician in the emergency room. The scene shifts to the awaiting family of the victim, where they are notified by the doctor of their son’s death. They grieve the loss in front of the audience. The students in the crowd begin to realize the senselessness of deaths caused by drunk driving.


Green Button  THE FUNERAL
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Journey Unknown Scene 9The set then shifts to a funeral scene. The families of the victims are present. A casket provided by the funeral home is marched by the victims friends into the auditorium. The students, knowing the person that died, are moved by the dramatic scene. Many of the audience members will cry, some will have to leave the room. The impact on the students is profound.



Green Button  THE SENTENCE
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Journey Unknown Scene 10

As the event comes to a close we do one final scene. A police officer escorts the drunk driver to the court appearance across the stage. All in the audience rise as the honorable judge enters into the court room. The judge sentences the drunk driver to two counts of vehicular homicide. The judge will explain what this means. This means no family, no fun time outside, and spending the remaining time of your life behind bars for a poor choice that was made. The drunk driver is escorted in hand cuffs off the stage.



The Journey Unknown is the most dramatic, and possibly the most effective public education effort for JCAS. Young persons have one of the highest death rates for driving injuries in Iowa. All of these deaths are senseless. The expense to hold the Journey Unknown is paid back if even only one student is saved. The timing prior to prom is important because prom is traditionally a time that students have fun and go to parties. The demonstration is able to reinforce students decisions not to drink and drive by creating awareness of the consequences. We at JCAS feel fortunate to be able to put on such a demonstration to area students.