Teens get lesson on DUI dangers

Published 10:10 pm Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Junior Matthew Boone is wheeled away on a stretcher from a mock drunken teen car crash at Nansemond River High School Wednesday.

Ten days before prom — one of the riskiest nights for teen drivers and passengers — Nansemond River High School students received a jolting dose of simulated reality Wednesday.

The school’s second annual mock DUI driver education program, with several students acting out a terrible accident, gave juniors and seniors vivid insight into the dangers of drinking and driving.

School Crimestoppers Advisor Renee Parker said it also cautioned against using drugs and driving, as well as being a passenger in a vehicle with an under-the-influence driver.

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“They always say, ‘Not me, it won’t happen to me,’” Parker said. “But to see their classmates in that situation, it really hits home.”

Suffolk Fire and Rescue and Southside Regional Fire Academy units sped under sirens to the scene of the “incident” next to the playing fields.

Senior Tyler Deloatch lay “dead” on the road, a slowly leaking paper coffee cup and cherry red Dr. Martins boot strewn beside him.

According to the script, he had been struck by a carload of teens with a drunk driver, and behind Deloatch, the sedan had collided with an SUV.

“They just left the prom (and) stopped off at one party, where they drank, left to another party, and hit a pedestrian and now struck a parked car,” Master Police Officer Fred Panton told the crowd.

Before rescuers used “jaws of life” to free occupants of the car, a standardized field sobriety test revealed the driver had been drinking, Panton explained.

Panton said that in real life, the driver would face a minimum five years in a state penitentiary for vehicular homicide.

Sentara’s Nightingale air ambulance airlifted the injured to the hospital, while Deloatch was zipped up in a body bag for delivery to the mortuary.
“I’m basically going to be a dead body, and they’re going to put me in a hearse,” Deloatch said while preparing for the scene. “I did this last year, but I wasn’t dead.”

He said the event taught students to “think about your action before you involve everybody else and the friends you love, because stuff like this does happen.”

Senior Rebecca Bennett, who was one of the injured in the car, said last year she was one of those flown to hospital. “It’s my sister up there now,” she added.

“I’m glad all the students get to see what can happen.”

Junior Raven Turner said, “It’s unbelievable; you would never think it could happen, but it can happen.”

According to Turner’s friend Deja Patterson “it happens every day” somewhere. “When it happens, that’s somebody’s son, friend, nephew,” she said.