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May 6, 2014 • Headlines

PHI Air Medical helicopter participated in the Milan mock disaster.
Milan firefighters rescue a "victim" during the mock disaster drill that was held in anticipation of the prom and graduation season.
A "victim" is rescued from a vehicle during the Milan mock disaster drill.
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Ripley County polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.
Don’t forget to vote today!

Registered voters are encouraged to vote today. “I encourage all Hoosier voters to visit to educate themselves on who they’ll be voting for and where they’ll be voting,” said Secretary of State Connie Lawson. “An informed electorate is the key to a successful democracy so I encourage all voters to take advantage of this tool.”

The polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. in Ripley County. The Ripley County courthouse is closed to the public today for the election. Ballots will be returned this evening to the annex building for an official count. A photo ID is required when voting.

Local contested races include sheriff with three Republicans: Joe Mann, Rob Bradley and Jeff Cumberworth vying for the nomination and two Democrats, Josh Thompson and Tim Sutton. For commissioner, there are four Republican candidates: Bill Flannery, Jay Gayheart, Robert Linville and Stan Wiedeman. Two Republicans are up for the county council District 3 seat, Chad Pindell and David Simon. There are numerous candidates on the ballot for township trustee and precinct committeemen. Several candidates for various offices are running unopposed. The party chair has until July 1 to submit a candidate if there is no one on the ticket.

Hoosier voters can go to to look up which candidates will be on their ballot. Voters enter their county of residence, name and date of birth. ‘Who’s On Your Ballot?’ will list the offices, candidates’ names and party just as it will be listed on Election Day.  Voters may verify their polling location at Polling sites have not changed for Ripley County voters from the previous elections.

Hoosiers who are not sure if they are registered may also confirm their registration online at Information of local candidates is also online at

Hoosiers may also call the toll free Hoosier Voter Hotline at 866-IN-1-VOTE to speak directly to a representative for information, polling locations and to file grievances. Staff will be on hand to answer calls from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. Voters who wish to report an issue on Election Day should call this number to report the problem.

Check out Thursday’s The Versailles Republican for complete coverage of the local election. We’ll also post it online on our e-Edition, which can be accessed at

Students see reality as accident is staged

Milan mock disaster

Mary Mattingly

Two people were killed and two seriously injured after a drunk driving incident following prom Saturday night. The 17-year-old driver was taken away in handcuffs as his girlfriend, the passenger in the car, was carried away by ambulance. The 10-year-old boy in the other car that was struck was air-cared for treatment of serious injuries.

Milan mock disaster


About 30 first responders and five “victims” volunteered for the drunk driving drill Thursday at Milan High School. The scenario was the teen driver, played by Dean Elrod, was drinking and driving after prom, and his passenger, played by Kelli Smith, was injured and two other people were killed. Here, the firefighters remove the windshields and roof to access the patients.

That’s how the story would start if it really did happen. Fortunately, it didn’t, but the scene created by 30 EMTs, firefighters, police, and five willing actors sent a graphic message to the Milan junior and senior high school students Thursday, just two days before the prom. Drink and drive, or get behind the wheel of someone who does, and this could be your life, or the end of the life as you know now.

About a hundred students stood on the embankment of the school grounds and Daren Baker Memorial Park where the crash was staged. The “mom and dad,” Rachel Richards and Joe Ullman, were slumped in the demolished car, as their “son” Trayton Robbins screamed in pain in the backseat. Ullman, a Dillsboro EMT member, heartedly agreed to play the role because of the message it sends. “I’ve seen some shocking things in my experience. You don’t know what you’ll get when you get paged out,” he said.

It was fascinating and impressive to watch up close how the first responders responded to the scene. With sirens blaring and lights flashing, the firefighters jumped out and firefighters immediately assessed the scene, to see who was alive or dead, and the degree of injuries. Their goal is do so within 30 seconds and color mark each person to identify their risk factor. The two in the front seat of the other car got black marks, indicating they were dead.

Volunteer firefighters teamed up and professionally removed the crunched car with the jaws of life equipment to access the driver. They did routine precautionary measures such as cut the battery cables and check the fuel tanks to ensure their own safety as well. They also stabilized the vehicle with wood blocks. ”Victims” were covered with a thick blanket as they punched out the front windshield. Firefighter Alex Hooker said their goal in a similar situation where someone is pinned is to do so in 7 to 8 minutes.

Chad Elliott, firefighter, worked the mock disaster scene and took it seriously. He said he’s seen similar real incidents in his second year as a volunteer. “I can’t imagine what it would be like if I came upon a family member,” he said. Students took it all in, and once the “patients” were in the ambulance, walked by somberly to view the wreck. “It would be very sad if it was true,” said Brett Cook, a junior, and his classmate Kayla Craft agreed. “It is very realistic.” Their classmates, Kelli Smith and Dean Elrod, were acting the part. Dean didn’t mind being the bad guy for the message it sends. He said prior to the simulation, “We really need an awareness of this.” And Kelli, in a fake blood-stained prom dress, added, “I want to make sure students don’t do stuff like this.” The two went to the real prom at Milan together on Saturday.

Mock disaster Stat Flight
Pictured right, Lucas Richards, 7, said his favorite part of the mock disaster was when the helicopter arrived. His mom, Rachel Richards, was one of the “victims” in the drill. He was with his grandma, Judy Stutler.

Chad Reed, a 1996 Milan graduate, EMT and firefighter, helped coordinate the mock disaster with the SADD chapter and sponsor Lauren Siefert. He recalled a mock disaster like this when he was in school and the powerful message behind it. Now a father of a teen, he has more reason to push it. “The idea is to educate and inform the local students and residents of the dangers of drinking and driving. Sometimes you need shock and awe to get the message through, especially with the younger generation. “

To make the scene as authentic as possible, even Statflight Air Care flew in, landing at the high school front lawn, and the ground ambulance crew transported the “patient” to the helicopter.

Reed was thankful for the many people who assisted to make the scene real. Jim Corbin, EMS director, told the students afterward in a SADD chapter gathering that in his 26 years “I’ve responded a lot to scenes much like this.” He reeled off scary data about drinking and driving, and fatal accidents of minors. “So make good decisions and then we don’t have to be involved,” he told the students. (Read the Milan SADD Chapter statistics that were read by students after the mock disaster in today's Osgood Journal.)

Afterwards, Reed thanked the many people who helped put it together, including Negangard’s junkyard, Laws -Carr-Moore Funeral Home for the hearse, the Milan rescue, police and firefighters, the actors, and school staff for support “I like to think we reached at least one person with our message. It’s all worthwhile then. I’ve just seen too many of these real accidents.” Not only does it send a message about drinking and driving, but it also shows the students and residents what the first responders do on a regular basis. His goal is other nearby schools might also want to do a similar mock disaster, to send the same message to the youth.

Pick up this week's edition of the Osgood Journal for the stories below and more local news. Subscribe by clicking the subscribe link or call 812-689-6364.

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