Emergency crews respond to DUI crash simulation

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - Emergency crews were dispatched to the Columbus Civic Center Tuesday morning, but it was just a learning exercise. The Muscogee County School District held the 11th annual DUI reenactment for high school juniors all over the district.

The exercise not only demonstrates the terrible consequences of drinking and driving, but most of the students walked away with a new outlook on their young lives.

The Students Against Drunk Driving, or SADD, took part in a simulated DUI crash to teach an important lesson to high school students.

Dr. B.J. McBride with the school district said, "We want them to see the seriousness in our minds about it, not only that as educators, but you see the Columbus Police Department, the Sheriff's Office, the Marshals Office and the coroner... You see a whole array of people saying to them: this is important, don't drink and drive."

Emergency personnel from all over Columbus assist with the re-enactment.

"We can help those in the future that were not helped in the past by doing this project each year. There are so many people that go out and say this will never happen to me, but as we see now, it can happen to everybody," said Muscogee County Coroner Bill Thrower, who played a role in the event.

The event starts out with the scenario that a drunk driver injures his friend and two other young drivers.

Summer Austin is a senior at Columbus High School and an actor in the re-enactment. She told News Leader Nine, "Whenever I saw this last year it blew me away and I cried. It really affected me and it just pushed me further away from drugs and alcohol."

"It's very emotional, it's very graphic and it makes you seriously sit down and think about what you're doing before you do it," added Carver High School senior Justin Jones.

Plus an emotional guest speaker shared his real life story of how a drunk driver killed his friend and caused him permanent brain damage.

Summer Austin said, "It's very detrimental to people who have so much going in their lives that if you drink and drive they are going to ruin their lives and it's a very bad problem that I hope this helps change it."

The DUI reenactment comes at a perfect time considering prom and graduation are right around the corner for high school students. Organizers say this is one message they hope stick with the kids for a lifetime.

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