Chesterfield Public Schools hold mock crash scene ahead of summer

Chesterfield first responders set up this crash demonstration to stress the dangers of drinking and driving to students.
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 6:51 PM EDT|Updated: May. 19, 2023 at 10:29 AM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - A Chesterfield County high school was a back drop for a mock scene crash demonstration on Thursday to show students the dangers of drinking and driving.

Chesterfield Police, Chesterfield Fire & EMS, VCU Project Impact, Powhatan County Sheriff’s Office and the Conner Gweedo Memorial Foundation held the event at Crosby High School Thursday afternoon.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 37 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes each day. That’s one person every 39 minutes.

“I can’t tell you the gut-wrenching pain you feel every minute of every day, knowing all the aspirations you had for your child aren’t going to come true,” Tammy Gweedo McGee said.

Gweedo McGee started the Conner Gweedo Memorial Foundation after tragically losing her 16-year-old son, Conner Gweedo, in October 2019.

McGee says a driver lost control of their vehicle and struck a tree. She says her son, who was in the car, died on impact.

“Every minute of every single day I live it. It’s never going to go away. It doesn’t get any better,” McGee said.

Tammy is one of many whose lives have been forever changed by road negligence.

Powhatan County Sheriff’s Office Community Engagement Officer Brad Hughes was in a tragic accident a few years ago.

Hughes, a former security officer in Chesterfield County, was conducting a traffic stop in 2014 when a distracted driver lost control of their truck and ran into him.

Hughes lost both of his legs in the crash.

“I’ll never be able to walk my daughter down the aisle. I’ll never be able to do anything like a person does again. Feet in the sand, walking through the grass,” Hughes said.

Both Hughes and McGee are using their pain as fuel for motivation.

Now, the two driver safety advocates and the VCU nonprofit host dozens of these demonstrations nationwide every year.

They hope students will take a key message with them into the summer.

No distraction or drink is worth risking a life.

“Pay attention to the roadway, keep your hands on the steering wheel, put the phone down, drive slow. There’s no rush to get to where you’re going to because the people around you can lose their life in three seconds. All it took was three seconds for me to lose my legs,” Hughes said.