A group of teens and a sheriff’s deputy were taken to hospital after a drunk-driving simulation went horribly wrong in the parking lot of the Elkhart County Jail on Monday.
The 3 teens were taking part in the simulation as part of the Explorers program – which is designed for children who are thinking of pursuing a career in law enforcement.
They were taking turns in driving a modified golf cart whilst wearing goggles that simulate the effect of drink upon a driver. According to reports the 14-year old driver took a turn too hard, over-corrected and tipped the modified vehicle, which was then blown onto its side by a strong gust of wind.
It is believed that the accident took place at approximately 7pm. One of the passengers, a 15-year-old who was sat in the back of the vehicle, was airlifted to Memorial Hospital with numbness to his arms. The 14-year-old driver was hospitalized with head pain, and another passenger, 18-year-old Alex Whitehead was hospitalized with shoulder, arm and neck pain. The deputy, Bob Smith, was later driven to Elkhart General after suffering pain in his feet and minor cuts.
Thankfully, none of the injuries were too severe and everyone was treated and released in the same night.
Speaking about the incident, Undersheriff Sean Holmes said: “You don’t’ want to get those phone calls. I’ve been around long enough to know that stuff happens, accidents happen and that’s what this was and that’s all this was. Nobody was doing anything they shouldn’t have been doing, it’s just something that happened.”
Is it just the conspiracy theorist in me getting a little over-excitable, or does the Undersheriff sound a teeny bit over-defensive there?
The vehicle, which ironically, belongs to Safe Kids Elkhart County, has been taken out of service. The damage that it obtained in the accident was mostly cosmetic – a broken side mirror, scratches and a cracked windshield, however it will be thoroughly investigated and evaluated before being used in the program again.
Those must be some powerful beer-goggles!