package 6 docBy Matt Liberman, Syracuse, New York (NCC News) – Tears streamed down students’ faces as they watched authorities cover their friend with a white sheet. With blood stains on the top, the dead body was then loaded into a black hearse. The drunk driver that hit her, stumbled over her own feet as she failed sobriety tests before being handcuffed and put in the back of a police car.
“One of the students involved is one of my close friends,” Fayetteville-Manlius student Catherine Barr said. “So just seeing how it affected her, it was scary. It was horrible.”
Barr watched as the two girls were driven away in separate paths. One to prison and the other to her grave. Sort of. This was all part of a mock crash simulation conducted in a partnership with Fayetteville-Manlius high School and Manlius’ emergency service departments to teach students the risks of drunk driving.
“You can lecture kids all day about drinking and driving, but when they see their own peers, their own friends coming out of these cars, you know that sticks with them,” Manlius fire lieutenant Chris Halliday said. “That’s our goal is for them to think about this as they grow older.”
The mock crash that took place this Thursday afternoon was just one part of a two-day affair to instruct students on the dangers of alcohol. Other segments consist of videos of the “parties” that took place before the crash, the funeral service, the trial and the road to recovery for those who survived the crash, Fayetteville-Manlius teacher Jay McKay said.
Students watched in shock as a fireman and police officers used the jaws of life to rip doors off of the wrecked cars in order to pull their classmates out, and as helicopters and ambulances had to carry those clasemates to safety.
With prom and graduation season approaching, this was essential to show the students, a number of teachers said.
One-thousand students die every year due to prom and graduation celebrations according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and according to a AAA study, 53 percent of prom-goers said they drank at least four beers following the dance.
After seeing everything he did today, Michael Tavares, a student at F-M, said he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he was ever the reason that someone became the victim of a drunk driver.
And that is something that has resonated long beyond just this group of high schoolers.
“We get feedback from parents whose kids have been graduated for four or six years,” Halliday said. “For those kids, this one event still impacts how they think and act.”