Guntersville responders hope Prom Promise has an impact

Northeast Alabama
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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — Studies show almost 30 people in the U.S. die in drunk driving crashes every day. Thursday morning first responders in Guntersville worked together to lessen that statistic.

The entire student body filed into Guntersville High School’s football stadium. Two mangled cars were covered with a tarp on the track below them. Guntersville Police Chief Jim Peterson stood on the field. “We’re going to give you a demonstration of a pretty bad car accident,” he told the students. A loud crash came over the loudspeaker, and a simulation 911 call out.

“We put on a demonstration for Guntersville High School, and we simulated a DUI crash involving serious injuries and a fatality,” explained Guntersville Police Sergeant Anthony Harbin.

Four students, dressed for the prom, sat inside the mangled vehicles on the track.

Guntersville Fire and Rescue engines rolled onto the scene. Firefighters jumped out. More police officers responded. Medics unloaded a stretcher from a Marshall Medical Centers ambulance.

The simulation played out: one student was airlifted to a hospital, another taken by ground, an officer performed field sobriety testing on the third student, one student was a fatality.

Senior Alaina Keller played the student who was a victim in the simulation. “It was really intense,” she said, “I really hope that [the students] saw us as a student body, like us, as people they know, and that this could really happen.”

“For them, this is just a scenario,” Harbin said, “For us, it’s a potential everyday thing.”

“We put about six months of planning into this. We hope in the 45 minutes that this scenario took place that the majority of them got the message across,” he added.

The entire student body was able to watch the simulation. Nearly a dozen agencies and businesses helped put it on for the school.

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