ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Over the last five years Louisiana State Police said there has been an epidemic of young drivers involved in fatal car crashes. In response, the state police Sudden Impact Program can be found in all parishes.
They partner with medical centers to provide courses to students about driving impaired. The program went a step further holding a mock car crash at Holy Savior Menard High School Friday, to show a striking example of the consequences.
First responders turned Menard's football field in to a live crash site.
Menard's students took part acting out the storyline. The scene started when students left a party, driving while intoxicated and got into a head on collision.
Rapides Regional Medical Center had a tent set up on the side to take care of "crash patients". Acadian Ambulance, Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office, Alexandria Fire Department, Vince’s Towing and the Rapides Parish Coroner’s Office were also involved in the mock crash.
"It's crazy like, you really don't have to fake anything," said actor and Menard junior Daniel Davis "It really does seem realistic, not only for the audience, but for us too.
Davis said he hoped this would send a message to his fellow students.
"They think that drinking is OK, it's normal, people do it," Davis said. "People fail to realize the consequences of what could happen."
Rapides Regional Medical Center Director of Education Theresa Hood said they see this often.
"This is as real as it can get," Hood said. "At Rapides we saw over 5,000 traumas last year, multiple motor vehicle crashes, most of these that are preventable."
And for Menard students the fake incident is all too real.
"I'm a driver and the majority of people in the stands are drivers," said actress and Menard junior Maria Williamson. "We have already lost two people because of things like this, so why not help out and spread the message?"
Louisiana State Police PIO (Troop E) Scott Moreau told students not to forget their classmates.
"In 2013 we lost Holy Savior Menard student Chase Michiels," Moreau said. "His picture is actually shown in our sudden impact class, his sister is actually in the audience. Last year we lost Adam Jeansonne, he was a junior, he'd be a senior this year. It was last April that we lost him in a motor vehicle crash."
He said he wants students to realize there is no rewind button.
"We engage in some of these negative behaviors when we are driving and we never get caught by a police officer," Moreau said. "We become complacent and drop our guard, but sooner or later it's going to bite and it's going to bite hard."
As he raises awareness, Davis said it puts him at peace when thinking about the students lost.
"A lot of the time you feel like you could have done something to help prevent it, and I guess this is a form of doing so," Davis said. "It's just nice to know that you are doing something to help prevent someone from losing somebody."
To learn more about the Louisiana's Sudden Impact Program visit the attached link.