Dramatic scene gives students a look at consequences of distracted driving

, Posted: Thu, March 20 2014 at 6:17 PM, Updated: Thu, March 20 2014 at 7:22 PM

Rogue River, Ore. -- It was a stunningly realistic scene at Rogue River High School Thursday when students got a first hand look at what could happen if driving drunk or while texting.

The track and field was transformed into the scene of a fatal car accident. Students played the drivers and the victims.

Rogue River Fire District Volunteer Firefighter Melissa Wills put on the program. Multiple agencies were involved. Students watched as firefighters used the Jaws of Life to remove one victim from a vehicle. A helicopter was brought in for a life flight. And students watched as the "drunk" driver took a sobriety test and was arrested.

"I wanted to make it as realistic as possible," Wills said.

The program is called Evry 15 Minutes. Every spelled E-V-R-Y because Wills said that is how it's often texted.

"Every 15 minutes somebody in the world dies in a drunk driving accident," she said.

Wills said she wanted to get students thinking about the consequences their actions can have. Junior Melissa Lee said it was a presentation she won't soon forget.

"It definitely put it in perspective for me," she said.

Students playing the part of the "living dead" were pulled out of class every 15 minutes. His or her obituary was written by the students parents and read to the class. Parents received a death notification by either a chaplain or officer. Tombstones lined the front of the school.

"These are our friends and so seeing it in that way definitely made an impact for all of us I think," Lee said.

But the role playing didn't end at the school. The officer booked the drunk driver and put her in jail, where she had to call and explain to her parents what she'd done. The student who died was seen by the medical examiner, placed in a body bag, and taken to a funeral home until a family member can identify the body.

"I wanted to make this as realistic as possible so they're not like 'this couldn't happen to me.'" Wills said. "This could happen and this is what we've seen in the field."

Friday is day two of the presentation. The students will attend an assembly where they will hear statistics about drinking and driving and texting while driving. The assembly will conclude with a call to action, challenging everyone to make responsible choices when behind the wheel.



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