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Colman Accident Reflects Mock Accident

May 8, 2006, 9:14 PM by Jessica Hopkins

Photo: Kayla Gaff
Photo: Kayla Gaff

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Counselors were on hand at Colman-Egan High School to help students cope with the loss of a classmate who was killed in an alcohol-related crash. Ironically, it was just a week ago that those same kids received a dramatic warning on the subject.

The same day her school held a docu-drama to warn about the dangers of drinking and driving... Kayla Gaff celebrated her 17th birthday. Little did she know the skit would soon become reality.

A mock-accident taped last week shows the disturbing pictures of how drinking and driving can take a life so tragically.

Merle Gulbranson is with Colman Fire Rescue. He's worked as a volunteer fire fighter for over 25 years and says the real scene he responded to early Saturday morning was all too familiar.

He says, "It just happened to be the scenario that we played out is exactly what happened Friday night. I've seen a lot of different things and when you see people and kids, it hurts real bad."

Gulbranson is in charge of setting up docu-dramas like the one at Colman Egan High School last Monday. They depict a true image of what an accident scene really looks like. He says responding to Gaff's accident was heartbreaking, but it's giving him passion to keep educating teens.

Gulbranson says, "It's just frustrating, but I guess the whole outcome is if we can help one out of this whole school, it is worth it."

Because he says by saving one life, he's making a difference in many lives.

He says, "All we can do is keep going forward and hopefully it doesn't happen again."

Gaff's funeral is tomorrow afternoon at the High School. The driver, 18-year-old Ryan Flatten and a 16-year-old passenger were hurt in the accident.

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