SHERIDAN — About 880 Sheridan High School students got a firsthand look at the potential consequences of drunk driving Friday during a simulated car accident staged by local students and first responders.
The “Last Call” event is part of a longstanding program aimed at prompting area high school students to make good decisions during prom week.
Sheridan-area firefighters, police, coroner’s office staff and all teamed up to show the SHS student body what might happen to four of their classmates who happened to be on the wrong end of a deadly encounter with a drunk driver.
“We hope they use this as a lesson…if they’re out and in a situation where there’s drinking and people are trying to decide whether to drive,” Sheridan Fire Marshal Brian Songer said.
Narrator Brett Smith, who is also a Sheridan firefighter, detailed the dreams and aspirations of four SHS students before the actors took over, providing the audience with a dramatic rendition of the moments immediately following a devastating car wreck.
SHS senior Jin Kim played the part of a passenger who was thrown through the windshield and died on impact.
Kylee Cahoy, Gunnar Edeen and Jackie Lewis played the surviving passengers who were left with severe emotional and physical scars as a result of the accident.
Senior Max Marquis played the role of the driver whose decision to get behind the wheel while drunk turned prom night into a horrific ordeal for his classmates.
While firefighters worked to dismantle the car that trapped three of the students, police performed a field sobriety test on Marquis before placing him under arrest.
When they had finally stripped the car of its doors and roof, firefighters removed the injured students and loaded them into an ambulance.
The county coroner then arrived to wrap Kim in a body bag and drive him away in a hearse.
School officials said the sobering scene was intended to remind high school students that the decision to drink and drive can easily result in the complete derailment of their once-hopeful futures.
“We’ve got a whole community that cares a lot about the young people at this high school, and we want to encourage all of them to make good choices,” SHS Principal Dirlene Wheeler said. “‘Last Call’ has been a very powerful message for our students.”
As for the actors, they said they hoped their classmates took the message to heart.
Marquis said he hoped students would remember that drunk drivers stand not only to harm themselves, but also the people they care about most.
“All the students that volunteer to do this have a lot ahead of them, and (drunk driving) can really screw up a good thing,” he said.
SHS will host several other events this weekend aimed at promoting responsibility during the final weeks of school.