Mock Disaster: Staged fatality a sobering event

MEEKER I When one arrived on the scene, a double take was not uncommon. A mock fatality accident in the Meeker High School upper parking lot was set up to show a well-made up but uncovered gruesome body in the parking lot, about 15 feet ahead of a vehicle that had obviously been involved in a rollover accident.

As part of Red Ribbon Week, the stage was set:
As Meeker High School Principal Amy Chinn tells it:
“It was T.J.’s Shelton’s 18th birthday. The senior and junior classes decided to have a bonfire at L07 to celebrate. Everyone was invited. It was the best bonfire of the year.
There was lots of beer and hard alcohol. Some people were smoking weed. There were veteran partiers there as well as first-time partiers. Everyone was having a great time.
Some of the kids had to be home by midnight. They didn’t want to leave. But because they all had been drinking, it was hard to decide how to get home.
Nick Burri recommended that Shelton drive, as he had less to drink than anyone else. T.J. was unsure; he had been drinking and felt a little drunk. Nick persisted and T.J. finally agreed to take the girls home.
They made it safely off of LO7. T.J. gained confidence as he was doing ‘fine’ driving drunk. They had 10 minutes to spare before the girls had to be home.
Delenn Mobley said that she wanted to go up to the football field and burn doughnuts. Everyone agreed that that would be fun. T.J. drove up School Street doing 50 miles per hour. He started getting texts from his friends asking if he was coming back to the party.
He was answering the texts while laughing at his friends in the car. It was a lot of fun, the best 18th birthday that he could imagine…”
Shelton lost control and flipped the car in the parking lot.
T.J. failed the roadside sobriety test. He was arrested and was booked at the Rio Blanco County Jail.
Kendra Nelson was pronounced dead at the scene. Nick Burri and Madeline Amack were transported to Pioneers Medical Center. Delenn Mobley was flown in the Flight for Life helicopter to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.
Amack and Mobley died of their injuries; Burri survived but suffered serious injuries. At school on Friday and Monday, Nelson, Mobley and Amack were present but were dressed in black. Because they were dead, other students couldn’t talk to them and they couldn’t speak to other students.
T.J. was charged with three counts of vehicular homicide in the accident that “killed” three local students and seriously injured another.
There will be a mock trial for Shelton in November, and he will be tried as an adult on three charges of vehicular homicide.