By Tony Aiello

NEW CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The town of Clarkstown held a demonstration of a deadly drunk-driving crash to raise awareness for DWI and distracted driving.

As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Wednesday, the simulation was gripping in its realism, with students in makeup portraying teens involved in a drunk-driving crash. Nurses, cops, firefighters all played roles they are sadly familiar with.

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Students said it was chilling to watch.

“You go into this knowing it’s fake, and then you see the girl lying, the car coming apart, the helicopter. It just feels so real even though you know it’s not, and it hits really close to home,” said Nanuet High School student Tara Connolly.

Very close in Rockland County, where in the span of two recent weeks, two students — Jacqueline Zangrilli and Vlad Mosyuk — were killed in drunk driving crashes.

Clarkstown North student Jenna Edelman said she thought about them as she participated in the event.

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“This really can’t happen again. So traumatic for all of us,” she said.

Her mother watched and thought about parents who’ve lost kids that way.

“I can’t even imagine what mothers and fathers and families go through. I just hope this sends a clear message to these kids,” Debra Edelman said. “There’s Ubers. There’s parents. There’s so many options out there. Don’t drink and drive. It ruins so many families.”

In Rockland County, all firefighters and most EMTS are volunteers. Incidents like this really take an emotional toll.

“There is nothing more devastating to us as a fire department when that person in the car is a teenager. So we are begging you not to drink and drive,” said New City fire volunteer Dave Wright.

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Video from the event will be edited into a short documentary parents can watch with their kids — a simulation that could save lives.

Tony Aiello