MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An all-too-real demonstration in Nassau County Wednesday showed the dangers of drinking and driving on prom night.
As TV 10/55 Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported, students gave a lesson to other students about what can turn into fatal consequences.
In a staged performance on a Massapequa High School athletic field, a young man in a tuxedo is seen running up to the windshield of a wrecked car, where a young woman is seen slumped over on the hood with her legs in the blown-out windshield – covered in blood and apparently dead.
The young man in the tuxedo is portraying a teen driver who had been drinking, and who slams into another vehicle – injuring himself and half a dozen others, and indeed killing his prom date.
“Thank God it’s not real,” said Kelly Hastings, who played the young woman who dies. “I couldn’t imagine seeing a scene like that, although I couldn’t see it because I was participating in it. I just pray to God it never happens to anyone else.”
The simulated two-car fatal drunken driving collision was staged by students themselves before grim-faced students in the stands. Very real were the first-responders who pulled up in a fire truck and ambulance with lights and sirens, and used the jaws of life to pry out those portraying victims.
They were rushed to ambulances or real Medevac helicopters.
“We’re actually showing firsthand what a motor vehicle accident looks like from start to finish,” said Massapequa firefighter Stuart Paolino.
Paolino came up with the idea of the simulated exercise – both to save lives and so first responders don’t have to witness young lives being snuffed out.
The young woman portrayed by Hastings is placed on a stretcher, and a sheet is laid over her body as she is dead. Another young woman is also seen on a stretcher, tearfully asking if her friends are OK.
And the young man responsible for the crash – played by Brian Bernhard – stumbles haphazardly at the guidance of a police officer, who proceeds to take him away in handcuffs soon afterward.
Bernhard said he hopes other students will never face arrest for driving while intoxicated.
“It felt like the real thing,” he said. “It certainly, certainly was no joke; very real.”
The frightening demonstration had an immediate impact on the students who witnessed it from the bleachers.
“It was a little scary to see what could actually happen, and it hit me,” said Massapequa High School junior Jacob Liese.
Since starting the simulation three years ago, high school officials said there have been no fatal drunken driving incidents involving any of their students.
Drinking and driving is to blame for about a quarter of all deadly car accidents involving teenagers.