Mystery Tour of Life
It was a day that brought so many emotions to the surface but a day that is needed in every single town.
Senior Constable Mike Smith and Ben Ducker who have been presenting the Mystery Tour of Life for 7 years, took the year 10 students through a presentation of videos and talks on the consequences and penalties they would be faced with if they were caught driving using a mobile phone, speeding, driving when fatigued, drink driving, drunk driving, not wearing a seatbelt and not stopping for emergency vehicles. The students engaged and watched videos of road trauma associated with each scenario discussed.
We followed as the students were taken to a staged ‘accident scene’ and watched the scenario of a young drunk driver who had crashed head on into another car, resulting in the death of a passenger who was lying on the road and resulting in the driver of the other car being injured and trapped inside. The students watched the scenario unfold as it would in real life. From the moment the tarp was pulled from the 2 cars, it was bedlam. The screaming and sirens were confronting.
Chris Mott, the Deputy Principal of Bridgetown Primary School and St John Ambulance Volunteer narrated the crash scene and talked to the students explaining what was happening. St John Ambulance Volunteers, Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services and the Police all played the roles they normally would at a crash scene and the students watched as the actor Billie, was cut from the car with the jaws of life, while the driver was arrested. They watched as Billie was taken to the ambulance.
The students were then taken to the Bridgetown Hospital where they watched as Billie was taken from the back of the ambulance. The students were then separated into 3 groups, with each group going to certain areas of the hospital. While one group looked through Police vehicles and being able to speak directly to Police Officers the 2 other groups went inside the hospital. One group went to the emergency room where they watched as Dr Jonathon Morley and Michelle Hanrahan demonstrated, on the injured driver, the emergency procedures they would undertake to try and stabilise her while Senior Constable Mike Smith and Ben Ducker showed the 3rd group of students the viewing room. They explained to the students that this would be where their family would come to see them, if they became a fatality and spoke of their role of having to notify families.
This is the moment I started to unravel, knowing what was next.
The students were then escorted inside the morgue and Mike and Ben explained the procedures, they as Police officers, have to undertake when someone has been killed. This was the moment I had to leave the room.
Once the students had been to all three areas, the students were then confronted by a hearse with a coffin in the back as a funeral director from Archer and Sons spoke to them about the process of organising a funeral.
The students were then taken back to the St John Ambulance Centre where they had lunch.
In this moment I couldn’t eat, I was preparing myself to talk to these students who had just seen every single moment I have experienced.
I met the other guest speakers, Hugh and Maddie Wheatley. Maddie survived a car crash and shared her journey for the very first time, and her Dad Hugh a guest speaker of the Mystery tour of life for the past 3 years shared his journey of road trauma again in the hope of saving lives on our roads.
The time came for me to speak. I stood in front of these young kids, all the same age as Tayla and told them Jack’s story. My hands were shaking, my legs turned to jelly as I relived that horrific night and shared with them my horrific journey of road trauma. Step by step I took them through that night, the phone call from Jack’s girlfriend Evie, seeing Jack at the hospital, organising his funeral, the process of court, sentencing, prison and parole and then I shared with them a video of Jack’s life, along with footage of the crash scene and videos from his funeral. There are no words for how these kids were feeling, I could feel it through their tears and see in their faces. Everything they had been exposed to all day they were hearing firsthand from a Mum whose world has been torn apart from the deliberate actions of a dangerous and reckless driver.
Bridgetown need to be commended for this program! This program supported by the Education Department has been running for 22 years and would not be made possible without the support of so many people.
- Senior Constable Mike Smith
- Senior Constable Ben Ducker
- Glenn Norris
- OIC Sergeant Dave White and Bridgetown Police
- OIC Sergeant Phil Huggins and Boyup Brook Police
- South West Traffic
- Bridgetown Volunteer Fire Department
- Bridgetown St John Ambulance
- Archer and Sons
- The actors of the day
The bus driver, the CWA ladies who supplied and served everyone morning tea, the lovely gentleman who cooked lunch and served the students and volunteers ice-cream.
It was great to see so many people in support of this amazing initiative including the School Teachers. District Superintendent Geoff Stewart and Inspector Scott Morrissey were there showing their support of this great initiative and it was lovely to meet Police officers I hadn’t met before along with Jane Kelsbie – Member for Warren-Blackwood.
It’s taken me a few days to process the day and work through all the emotions that have come with it, but I would sincerely like to thank Senior Constable Mike Smith for inviting Michelle and I to be a part of the day as guests and for inviting myself to be a guest speaker. Mike was empathetic and made sure we were ok throughout the day and made sure the students were too.
Although the day was emotional, overwhelming and confronting, by sharing Jack’s story I could have potentially saved a young life and another family from having to live the nightmare that has been forced upon us