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Mock crash displays grim consequences of DUI

WILLCOX — Screams, sirens and crimson haunted the Willcox High School football field Thursday in a depiction of how bad decisions can lead to involuntary manslaughter.

The mock car crash is staged once every four years by WASA (Willcox Against Substance Abuse), the Willcox Fire Department, the Sunsites Fire Department, Westlawn Mortuary, IMS Towing and the Willcox Police Department partnering with Willcox schools.

This year, the grisly scene depicted a head-on collision with multiple student actors in ripped clothing and gruesome makeup depicting the injuries and possible death associated with a DUI wreck. The entire high school was brought out to witness the scene as first responders and police treated the scenario as a drill. Police were the first to arrive at the football field, followed shortly by emergency services. The mock crash took more than a month and a half to orchestrate and nearly an hour to act out.

“Saturday is going to be prom night, so we’re trying to do it and give it a dynamic approach to prevention of drinking before prom night. We’re just bringing awareness to the consequences of drinking and driving, or distracted driving or substance abuse while driving. That’s what we’re trying to portray,” said Lila Tenniswood, Willcox High School medical professions instructor. “We are wanting to show how the community is involved in a trauma incident. We’re trying to bring awareness to underage drinking and driving.”

“This year I’ve had a lot of involvement in planning it and getting it running all together. I think it’s going to be a good experience and something valuable for the students so they can take something away from it,” said Willcox school resource officer Nick Williams. “Hopefully, it sends a clear message that this is a possibility. If they make poor decisions, there’s going to be consequences, and, hopefully, it will be eye-opening for some of them. Maybe it will make them think before they make that decision in the future.”

Hadfield appointed chief of police

WILLCOX — A familiar face was hired permanently as Willcox police chief last Tuesday afternoon.

Chief Dale Hadfield had been working for the Willcox Police Department as an interim director, but with the positive response from the community and community leaders, Hadfield has been hired as the permanent police chief. Working within the Willcox Police Department since 2006, Hadfield was promoted to sergeant in 2014. When Chief Jose Rios retired, Hadfield was appointed as interim director by Willcox City Manager Caleb Blaschke.

“I’m absolutely floored and honored to be given the opportunity to serve the Willcox community continually,” Hadfield said. “It’s been very surreal. It’s a great honor. I’m overwhelmed with the amount of support that the community has provided, and I thank the good Lord for the great community that I work with.”

Hadfield told the Range News that over the next few months, he intends to apply for multiple grants geared toward community interaction. He also said he wants to reach out to youth and restart the youth ride-along program. The program is for children ages 13 and up who are interested in police work, who can ride with a police officer in their unit. Hadfield also told the Range News he hopes to get his officers into more community action, breaking them out of the “iron coffins” of their patrol units so they can play basketball with youths and break free of the negative stigma that frequently haunts police officers.

“My focus right now is to get back to grass roots with a lot of community action,” Hadfield said. “As of right now, we’ve got absolute great community support.”

“He has great reviews from his staff, he has the confidence of his staff, and he had great reviews from the public as well. I know that we talked with a variety of different leaders within the community, and they all expressed confidence in Dale and his abilities. I’ve enjoyed working with him since September,” Blaschke said. “There’s a lot of good ideas he’s bringing to the table and things he’s wanting to implement. There are things that he wants to do, from playing basketball with youth in the community to purchasing body cams.”

Hadfield’s promotion ceremony will be at the Willcox City Council meeting on April 18, 2019, at 6:30 p.m.