DEER ISLE – Students at Deer Isle – Stonington High School are getting a rude awakening. Every 15 minutes a teenager is killed due to drunk driving and with prom around the corner, officials are worried about a scary situation.
“Even though it is a mock program, adults and kids respond as if it is real life,” said Deputy Sheriff Luke Gross at the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, “All of our volunteers and staff treat this as real as possible without taking it too far. Because of the the realism, we get a good response from the parents and kids.”
Students started their day in class. Every 15 minutes a peer is taken by the grim reaper and is returned with a painted face. This symbolizes accident victims.
“The purpose of this program is to try to educate them,” said Gross, “The realities and consequences of poor choices when it comes to drinking and driving.”
Students who are killed by a drunk driver are being kept away from their peers and even family without contact. They are also writing a goodbye letter to them. This adds a real feeling that they’re truly gone.
“Every 15 minutes that could be someone I know,” said Caitlyn Morey, a senior at the school, “A neighbor, a cousin or a friend. You never really think about it until it’s real life when your friend is dead in the car or your sister, brother or even you.”
If having your obituary read to your classmates wasn’t enough. Students experienced a traumatic view of their peers killed by a drunk driver.
“When you’re drinking and driving – you may only be thinking about yourself but you’re endangering those around you as well,” said Tyson Rice, a student.
They also got to see the perspective of the driver who took a sobriety test and later arrested.
“Do not get behind the wheel because your loss or anybody else that you can take in the process,” said Stephanie Limeburner, a parent, “It’s not worth it. It’s just not worth it.”
Even though it was staged, for some it brought back painful memories. Officials are hoping that students will truly understand the dangers of drinking and driving.