CHAPMANVILLE - With prom coming up Friday, juniors and seniors at Chapmanville Regional High School were presented with a mock vehicle crash to drive home the importance of not drinking and driving on prom night.

Using two cars donated by Mr. Vee's Towing, the Chapmanville Police and Fire Departments, along with the Logan Emergency Ambulance Service Authority (LEASA), simulated the crash aftermath as realistically as possible. The students watched as crews used equipment to cut the vehicles open and "rescue" the drivers inside.

Seniors Reese Ellis, Kelsey Lemmon, Madison Webb, Conner Mullins and Brennan Williams helped with the scene. Several donned makeup made to look like black eyes, blood and bruises, and each acted the part of a drunk driver or victim. LEASA took away some of them on stretchers all while their fellow classmates watched.

A standard field-sobriety test was administered to one of the students.

Jeff Robinette, the school's prevention resource officer (PRO), said the whole point of the exercise was to give the students a real-life perspective on what could happen in a drunk-driving accident.

"We could sit and show them statistics and video over and over," Robinette said. "What this does, we feel, is gives them a little more realistic approach to it. We had the fire department, EMS involved a simulated drunk-driving accident involving injuries. It gives them a real-life perspective on what actually happens at an accident scene."

Monday's crash simulation was the first time such an exercise had been conducted at Chapmanville Regional High School. Robinette said he had previously been involved with holding these at Scott High School when he worked as a PRO for the Boone County Sheriff's Department.

The students who played the drivers all agreed that the exercise was important for their classmates.

"It's a good opportunity to be able to show everybody they don't really need to be drinking and driving on prom night," said Brennan Williams. "It kind of shows everybody what's wrong and why they don't need to do it."

"It was very scary," said Kelsey Lemmon. "I did not expect it to be that realistic, and from that, I think everybody has learned that you have to build awareness by issues or they're not going to stop, and I really think we hit our goal out here today."

"I actually was the drunk driver, and I think that being the drunk driver just shows how important it is not to drink and drive, because you can risk the lives of many individuals," said Reese Ellis, "and you'll have to live with that forever."

Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196 or follow him on Twitter @DVidovichLB.

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