Pre-Prom Mock Wreck Demonstrates Drunk-Driving Dangers

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DOUGLAS, Ala. (WHNT) -- Several proms are this weekend, and schools are putting on programs to encourage students to make good decisions.

Douglas High School had a mock wreck Friday morning to show the dangers of driving drunk after the dance.  Police, firefighters, and paramedics responded to Arthur Jarvis Stadium across the street from the school, to check on a wreck in front of the bleachers.

It is the program's third year, and was a wake up call even for those who've seen it before.

"This year especially, I paid a little bit more attention because there were so many wrecks last weekend," high school senior Abbi Eblen said.

"Two of the students that were actually killed actually used to go here.  So using [current] students that go here in the representation, it really just made it hit home," she said.

"Yeah, I paid a lot of attention today."

Principal Scott Bonds said the former students who died were hit by a drunk driver.

"Lot of friends still here, very tragic, you hate that anything like that happens," Bonds said.

He said the mock wreck reinforces the importance of not drinking and driving, and points to the safe results of proms since the program's inception as proof of its success.

"We've been good, no problems, no accidents that I know of, no injuries that I know of, so we feel good about it and hopefully we can continue that streak," the principal said.

High school junior Brett Harris said she connected with the people involved in the presentation because she knows them personally.  Classmates played the roles of the injured, drunk, and dead, and many of the volunteer firefighters are Douglas graduates.

"When they use people from our school that we know, it has more of an impact on us.  We can see that they're pulling out students that they know, and that gets to you because they went to school with each other," Harris said.

She was also amazed at how many people came to respond to the two-vehicle crash.

"Seeing the hearse and the coroner and the ambulance and the MedFlight [helicopter], it just really gets to you. There were so many people just because of this wreck," she said.

"I just don't want this to happen to anyone prom night."

Senior Mark Miller missed seeing the presentation in previous years, but said it definitely grabbed his attention as he will have his girlfriend and others riding with him to prom.

"I thought it was good, just to be able to see the hearse and the helicopter," Miller said.

"The hearse was definitely the most prolific thing to me, because just imagining somebody that I love being in that hearse driving away, it just makes you stop and think."

About 30 first responders volunteered to assist with the demonstration, from the Douglas Police Department, Douglas Fire Department, Nixon Chapel Volunteer Fire Department, Alabama State Troopers, Marshall County Sheriff's Office, Marshall Health System, MedFlight, Valley Chapel Funeral Home, and Marshall County Coroner Marlon Killion.

"It makes it worth it if just even one person out of the whole group of kids here takes something in and it saves a life," Douglas Police Chief Eric Speight said.

"Maybe they pay attention more driving. That's what it's all about."

Principal Bonds said the mock wreck is also good practice for the volunteer firefighters.  In Friday's exercise, one of the car doors was smashed in so they couldn't open it without some equipment they don't frequently use, including the jaws of life.
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