LAURINBURG — Shattered glass, fake blood and limp bodies littered Scotland High School on Friday.
The emotional scene, set up just before prom by Scotland County law enforcement and emergency personnel, served as a warning of the dangers of driving while under the influence or distracted.
“I think this is a good thing for Scotland High School students,” said Caylin Ikner, a high school senior, “…to teach them to do right on prom night. A lot of people plan on getting drunk after prom and it’s a good thing for them to see the possible outcome of that decision.”
Teens looked on as their fellow classmates sprawled out on the ground or were trapped inside totaled cars. The demonstration’s intensity heightened when police officers, paramedics and firefighters rushed to the scene with ambulances and firetrucks wailing loudly in the background.
High school junior and Laurinburg native Evan Guin agreed that the demonstration “teaches kids not to go out there and drink and drive.”
Amy Forester, a coordinator for Safe Kids of the Mid-Carolinas, said she sees the mock wreck as a sort of “career day” and opportunity for students who may have an interest in emergency agencies or law enforcement but don’t have a chance to “get close enough” in the fields.
Sharon McIntyre, of Laurel Hill, watched as her son and star athlete Jaylend Ratliffe acted as an injured passenger of a car wreck after his friend decided to drive from prom drunk. McIntyre said teenagers often let curiosity get the best of them, and that curiosity and recklessness can lead to disastrous and possible life-changing consequences.
According to mothers against drunk driving, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. Almost 25 percent of those wrecks involve an underage drunk driver. It also states that kids who start drinking at a young age are seven times more likely to be involved in an alcohol-related car accident.
“One thing we notice is that they think the emergency response is instant,” Forester said. “It’s not like the TV commercial when the State Farm guy pops up when you’re afraid or hurt. It may take a few minutes for EMS to get to you.
“It’s very serious seeing them handcuff a fellow student,” she added as a student volunteer was led away from the scene with his hands behind his back, reenacting a scene of an arrest for DWI.
“I think it went really well,” said Cpl. Josh Byrd, of the police department and coordinator of the event. “We showed a video on an incident … I think that hit home for some of them — the texting. The whole thing is to make kids aware of the consequences of their actions and how the choices they’re making now can affect them in the long run.”
Rachel McAuley can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 15. Follow her on Twitter @rachelmcauley1.