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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Just a drill - this time

  • Just in time for prom season, students got a good look Wednesday at the dangers of drinking and driving.

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  • Just in time for prom season, students got a good look Wednesday at the dangers of drinking and driving.
    Hundreds of high school students from several area school districts watched a staged drunk driving accident at the Steuben County Fairgrounds.
    Chris Kester, vice-president of Bath Village Ambulance, said although the accident was a simulation, he hopes it taught the students an important lesson.
    “It’s definitely something kids – and really everyone – needs to learn,” Kester said.
    Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker said a teen dies in Steuben County nearly every year as a result of a drunk driving.
    “I’m just hoping this (event) will help prevent accidents like this from ever happening,” Baker said. “There’s always a problem with kids drinking and driving, especially during the prom season.”
    Wednesday’s “accident” was caused when the driver of a GMC Jimmy SUV slammed into a Ford Taurus sedan.
    The driver of the SUV was a drunk student behind the wheel just hours after a high school prom.
    The passenger, his prom date, slammed through the front window of the vehicle on impact and was seriously injured.
    Two people in the sedan were killed upon impact. Two others were injured.
    “Thankfully, this wasn’t a real accident,” Baker said. “Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.”
    DeShonn Frankel, a student at the Coopers Plains BOCES who played the intoxicated driver, said he hopes the event makes students realize the dangers of drinking and driving.
    “It shows everyone what really can happen,” Frankel said.
    Angela Wood, who portrayed a sedan passenger badly injured in the accident, said she was glad to be a part of the event.
    “It was a lot of fun,” Wood said. “I volunteered as soon as I heard about it at the school. I hope people see what can happen if you drink and drive.”
    Some districts have already had their proms, while others are still to come.
    National statistics show that car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, and nearly 35 percent of those are alcohol-related, according to a study. Drinking and driving among teens is on the decline, but prom season often heightens the amount.
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