The Sobering Truth: Students experience turning the keys to bad decisions

(WEAU) - Have you ever had too much to drink and gotten behind the wheel? A study done by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows more than 26% of Wisconsin adults surveyed have admitted to driving under the influence.

According to Department of Transportation in 2009, alcohol related crashes killed more than 200 hundred people, leaving nearly 4,000 injured.

Mayo Clinic Health System has done car crash simulations in the past, but this year the 8-12th grade students of Lake Holcombe and Cornell got the chance to experience it for the first time.

"I was kind of nervous and kind of scared how it would turn out,” said April Beighley, Senior at Cornell High School.

This can be anyone's worst nightmare. One minute you're having fun with your friends driving around and the next you’re dialing 911. It’s all because you drank alcohol and got behind the wheel.

But do these mock crashes impact students?

"We've got students in both of our districts who know people who are dealing with this or have dealt with this,” said Andrea Smith Community Education Coordinator.

One senior at Cornell High School says she's changed her perspective.

"I just thought it was teenagers having fun all the time, but I never really thought things like this could really happen,” said Beighley.

"We had four students at a party. The parents were home and allowed the kids to drink. Kids left and driver was impaired. They hit a tree, front seat passenger was ejected and fatality because of that,” said Smith.

That left one passenger with a spinal injury and the driver to deal with the law and police.

"As it got more and more into the thing, some were still laughing and others were tearing up and wiping their eyes and stuff like that because it really got to them,” said Beighley.

But what happens to the drunk driver and the students that watched the mock crash?

"They'll be writing essays, they'll be discussing this throughout the rest of the school year,” said Smith.

The students even witnessed the judicial process and heard the story of a drunk driver from Buffalo County.

"We'll never know if we made that difference which is really good, because if we did save a life you're not going to hear about it,” said Smith.

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