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Mock crash teaches students dangers of drinking and driving

Benton County, Ind. (WLFI) - Students at Benton Central High School sat in silence as they watched four of their classmates get pulled out from beneath the wreckage of a car accident on Wednesday. Although the scenario was fake, it didn't seem to ease the tension.

"I knew every kid there and it really just hits you that this could happen at anytime and it could happen to anyone," said Benton Central High School student Shelby Ward.

"A lot of people were just kind of looking at each other and not really saying anything," said Benton Central High School student Jerry Conard. "We all know what's going through each others heads."

The program is called "Every 15 Minutes," representing the statistic that every 15 minutes someone is killed in a crash where alcohol is a factor. To drive the point home, at Benton Central, every 15 minutes a grim reaper pulls a student out of

After watching a video of a car accident, students were shuffled outside to see what can happen in a car crash caused by drinking and driving. Benton Community Schools Superintendent Destin Haas said with prom coming up, he wants his students to know this was serious.

"This is an every day event in our community, in the United States and in the state of Indiana," said Haas. "We hope that we can send a message to our students that this is real."

Several agencies were involved in the mock crash, including volunteer fire departments and the Fowler police department. A lifeline helicopter from Champaign, Illinois also flew in to participate. There was one supposed fatality in the accident, and that student's parents were even notified and brought to the scene to see their child's body.

"I think the worst part was when the parents came," said Ward. "That just really hits you."

Haas said the scenario especially hit home for him and he hopes students make the right choice if they choose to drink on prom night.

"I was 10 years old when my father was killed in an alcohol related accident and I was notified at school when it occurred," said Haas. "If they do make a choice to drink, hopefully they do not do that without telling their parents or having somebody be responsible for their actions."

This was the first time that Benton Central High School took place in the mock crash. Other schools throughout the area, such as Harrison High School, also participated in the "Every 15 Minutes" program today.

Source: WLFI, "Mock crashes teaches students dangers of drinking and driving", Elisabeth Rentschler, April 25, 2012

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