Heroes on the Road


Connor Van Hulzen

Dale Nelson speaks to the crowd of upperclassmen.

“We are not heroes. We’re the cleanup crew.”

A hysterical mother is trapped in her car, an infuriated father storms out of his seat, a boy lies dead on the pavement and four prom-goers are confused at the scene. The police arrive with EMS personnel and firefighters quickly following. Finally, someone to save the day.

Connor Van Hulzen
Firefighters arrive at the scene.

Though, Dale Nelson may disagree. He says the people who arrive at the scene aren’t there to save the day and be heroes but are there to pick up the pieces. Nelson, a former Eagan firefighter, led the Mock Car Crash last Thursday in the Apple Valley parking lot. He emphasized to juniors and seniors the impact they have on everyone else on the road. One simple action can lead to a host of consequences.

The Backstrom parents joined him to reveal the real life impact of distracted driving. Their three oldest sons passed away in 2004 due to a drunk driving accident. A video telling the boys story was shown to Apple Valley’s juniors and seniors.

Apple Valley Role Models, or AVRM, with the help of teacher, Nathan Fritz, organized the event. They set up the bleachers, found the actors, and took down the scene. Junior at Apple Valley and AVRM Officer, Nina Moschkau, hopes more students will recognize how consequential distracted driving can be and says, “It’s good for everyone to be reminded every once in awhile.”

Connor Van Hulzen
The coroner and funeral director package the bodies.

With prom coming up, it’s especially important for students to drive safely. Apple Valley teacher, Lindsey Draeger, says that the Mock Car Crash will make students, “Pay attention and understand the dangers of driving.”

And, it already has.

Junior Ellie Nesseth said, “It made me nervous to drive.” Other juniors and seniors share her sentiment. Olivia Murphy, another junior, said, “I threw my phone in my console after watching the crash.”

Dale Nelson concluded that we can be the heroes. We can save lives. As upcoming voters, we can influence legislation regarding driving laws such as blood alcohol content levels. We can drive safer. By keeping cell phones in the back seat and making potential adjustments before the car’s in motion, we can keep our full attention on the road.

So, with prom season in full swing, make sure to drive safe Apple Valley!