On Fridays the Winlock High School gym is normally bustling with loud voices, but on April 15th, hundreds of students sat in silence as a classmate read an apology statement after “killing” another high schooler during a DUI crash. This was part of an interactive program aimed at teaching teenagers the dangers of drinking and driving. Although the student playing a drunk driver was never involved in a fatal accident, the effects of his apology were very real.

Right outside Winlock High School’s doors a mock DUI crash scene was staged; students watched as injured passengers were airlifted away and saw the “death” of three classmates. The driver, suspected of driving under the influence, went through sobriety testing, an arrest, and a trial where he was sentenced for three counts of vehicular homicide and one count of vehicular assault. The “drunk driver” then spoke to his fellow classmates about his decision to drive impaired and the consequences it had on his life.

After the mock scenes were complete, students heard from guest speakers including the flight crew from Life Flight, the Washington State Patrol, and the mother of a passenger who was severely injured in an underage joyride collision, a prosecutor, the coroner’s office, and members of the fire department. The were also introduced to the Department of Health’s new webpage aimed at educating youth about marijuana use and their new campaign “Listen2YourSelfie” – during the assembly, more than 30 students followed their social media accounts.

WSP Lt. John Matagi says “the community in this area is actively seeking to impact their young drivers.” He even shared a video a basketball team and the local fire department produced to share the dangers of distracted driving. You can find that video here: https://www.facebook.com/174765903797/videos/vb.174765903797/10153983717498798/?type=3&theater .

The Washington State Patrol was happy to take part in such an impactful demonstration and is proud of the work communities are doing to keep people safe.