Images And Words: The Other Side of D.U.I.

Scroll down for crash scene photos, for some press coverage of the events, and for the ability to keep in touch, join one of my online communities, and/or get more info from me. 

Some of the press coverage of the crash scene event before the film was produced:

My Letter to the Editor After the Filming

South Carolina Drunk Driving Statistics from 1982 - 2012

The number of fatalities from alcohol related crashed was lower in 1994 than it was in 30 years since 1982. Learn more...

Here are some photos taken from the day we filmed the crash scene:

This woman was a nurse. She volunteered to act the part of "driver" in car #1. Originally, she was cast as pregnant during this crash. The script would have her die in the emergency room of MUSC. We see the sheet being pulled over her head in Images and Words when they "call the code." 

The original film idea would show her daughter (who was unborn in this shot) returning as a speaker to the campus where her mother died. The film would reveal the story of her mother's death as told by her daughter in front of a crowd of students.

The filming of the story as I originally wrote it proved too difficult. The version we see in Images and Words was used instead. 

The cars were donated by Jenning Towing. Moulage was provided by the Navy Moulage team. Safety and extrication was performed by Charleston Fire, EMS and Police. These cars had the fuel drained and cleaned from the fuel tanks and batteries disconnected to prevent fire hazard. 
This photo shows the mix of teams at work. If you look closely at the guy bent over the stretcher, you'll see "Navy EMS" on the back of his bunker coat. He and the other Navy EMS personnel were colleagues of mine. We worked the streets of Charleston during those years and I believe fielded some of the most competent EMS professionals I've ever had the pleasure of working with. These guys knew their stuff!

You'll also notice more of Charleston's finest as well as the College of Charleston's film crew. In the background are hundreds of students who got to watch this unfold live. The streets were lined with students from one end to the other. 
Here's another view of the students gathering. In this shot, we panned left to look down the street. The crash scene you see above is happening to the right and behind the camera man. 
This young woman was truly remarkable. She is a student at this time & she volunteered to play the part of the driver in vehicle #2. 

What makes this woman so remarkable is her courage and her reaction to the scene. As you can imagine, all around her was breaking glass, generator motors powering the jaws of life, radio chatter, hundreds of her student peers, a bloody corpse (actor) from the passenger in this car, and she was covered in bloody moulage. It is very easy for anyone who is not used to this kind of scene on a daily basis to be overwhelmed!

This young woman slipped into a mental state where she believed what was going on around her was real. She started to hyperventilate. Her makeup ran down her face from real tears.

Our crews had a real patient to work with.
What she brought to the faces and vocal tones of our medics and other support personnel was realism we could not have paid for! The men and women taking care of these patients went into real mode. No more acting. It shows on camera. 

The fact that this woman stood her ground despite her panic is the very definition of courage. She felt the fear and she did it anyway. If I could have hugged her when the shooting was done, I would have. She did a great job!
In this photo, we see the body (actor) of the student who volunteered to play the passenger role. In the scenario, he was ejected through the windshield - a situation that is not uncommon. We was dead on arrival (DOA) - or, as you hear the police man say to Chief Lynn Hurd, Paramedic in charge, when he arrives "The guy on the hood is 10-7." That means he's out of service or dead. 

The man we see in this photo is a member of the Navy moulage team. He's making some final adjustments to one of the passengers in the back of wrecked vehicle #2. 
I'm compelled to mention that the student on the hood was well protected. We can't see it, but the glass under him was duct taped to blunt sharp edges and every effort is made to ensure his safety and comfort. I doubt, however, that he was comfortable for the length of time he needed to lay there on that hood under a white sheet during the filming. He played a great dead guy!
Here we see the guys folding the roof back on Vehicle #1. These guys are opening up this car like a sardine can to get the victim out. 

Notice the camera man getting the shot and the students taking it all in!
This is a photo taken of yours truly. I was maybe 25 years old. Check out the glasses!

In this photo, I'm giving one of hundreds of speeches I had delivered as this project came together. In this shot, I'm addressing the film crews from the steps of a make-shift command post we made on the porch of a building positioned directly in front of the crash scene. 

Behind me, there is a table. On it is a map of the surrounding area, one radio for each of the services (Charleston fire, police, ems, the helicopter team, the film crew, Navy EMS, the College of Charleston public safety, etc). 

Everything needed to be executed in order. One senior person from each crew would join me in the command post and as the day unfolded, all I needed to do was point to the team leader who's team we needed to move and the leader would take care of that. They could talk and coordinate among themselves as necessary. This type of coordinating mechanism was invaluable to the success ofthe project and the guys who joined me on that platform were great to work with!
Here's a shot taken from the left side on our command center. I think this guy actually climbed into the bushes to capture this photo. 

It shows the two cars positioned to look like they had crashed on this road in the middle of campus. Vehicle #1 on the left and vehicle #2 on the right. This was taken during setup.

There were four victims in vehicle #2. The two victims in the back seat were extricated (removed from the car) through that hatch in the hatch-back. 
Another shot of me addressing the teams. In this case, I'm taking with the actors/actresses and moulage teams. The guy with the striped shirt up on the platform holding coffee and dangling sunglasses on his chest was the film director. I believe he was looking over the plans or the script when this photo was taken. 

The moulage crew had set up a little work zone around the back of this building and through the metal fence you see to my left. 
Here we see medica wheeling off patient #1. This is the nurse in the photo above. From here, she is taken by ambulance over to Marion Square. 

What we can't see (but we're coordinating by radio) is the fact that Charleston police had shut down a 9 block radius around the filming activities. The Charleston fire department was conducting what's known as a "FOD" or Flying Obstacle Debris walkdown of the landing site, and the helicopter is enroute. 

A fun factoid about the helicopter: it was supposed to be filmed as part of the movie - and it was!, but not until they found the right road. The first time they flew over, they flew down the wrong road. Our film crews couldn't capture the fly over. They guys in the command post with me had to coordinate a second fly over so it could be captured on film. 

The scene you see in the film where the helicopter flew over didn't actually happen in take 1. 

It should also be noted that a helicopter isn't cheap to fly. It cost an average of $700 (at the time) every time that helicopter left the ground. A huge thank you to the folks at the Medical University of South Carolina for donating that helicopter and the crews to operate it! 

After this patient was loaded into the helicopter at Marion Square, she was flown to the Medical University of South Carolina - where a real team of trauma doctors, nurses, medics and other support staff were on hand to do what they do best. They worked her like a code in front of the cameras. A great effort by everyone!
Here the scene is unfolding. This was taken early on in the sequence. Can you find the camera man? How about the film director? Hint: he's now wearing his sunglasses!
In this past photo, we see the public safety officer from the College of Charleston in the middle of the shot with a white shirt on. The fireman closest to us on the right is holding what's called a "booster line" in case of fire. Even though there was no fuel and no batteries in these cars, safety was top priority during the filming. We were all grateful that there were no injuries during the making of this film. With all the equipment, bodies, broken glass and moving parts, that says a lot about the teams who pulled this off!

Still Helping Communities

I'm not out running around on the street anymore, but I am still contributing to communities. I own several Web sites dedicated to communities - including the one I included a button to below called "" Community Preparedness is all about that - helping individuals, families and neighborhoods get and stay prepared - no, I'm not talking about the zombie apocalypse. 

I also stay affiliated with my local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), lead Boy Scouts, and coach soccer. I believe the best way we can make a difference is by helping young people understand a concept I call Positive Peer Resistance. We help them to understand the support network that surrounds them and hope that the mental picture that creates is enough to tip the scales when they need to make hard decisions at times when they feel alone.  

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Dave Dejewski standing in the back of a brand new, specially designed, air/rescue truck. He started fighting fire in 1989 from the back of trucks just like this one.