Drunk driving simulation a 'wake-up call' for Sturgis students

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Freshmen at Sturgis Brown High School got a hard look at the consequences of underage drinking.

During the 6th annual Choices simulation put on by the school’s Youth Leadership Team, students experienced the consequences 

The simulation began with the freshmen class attending an underage drinking party, complete with beer pong.

The students then watched a mock car crash to simulate a drunk driving accident. Sturgis Police and medical staff arrived on scene including a Black Hills Life Flight helicopter.

Students were then brought inside an emergency room to show how medical staff would treat someone suffering from alcohol poisoning. The student playing the victim ended up "dying".

A freshman student was then selected and charged as the buzzed driver responsible for the crash. Students then sat in on a makeshift courtroom to hear the trial and sentencing of the driver.

A Sturgis Brown freshman receives her probation sentencing during a day of buzzed driving awareness on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017.

Finally, students gathered in the library to attend a funeral service for their fellow classmate, complete with a eulogy from a professional funeral director.

Some students said the simulation  is a reminder that they have to make their own safe choices.

“This helped put it in perspective. It helped us take it away better than when your teachers tell you or your parents tell you,,” said Sturgis Brown High School freshman Haley Ferguson. “It hit your emotions a little bit harder."

Sturgis Brown High School freshmen sit in on a mock funeral during a day of buzzed driving awareness on Wednesdat, Nov. 9, 2017

According to Alexa Delbridge, a senior who helped organize the event, the day is a wake up call for how fast a fun party can turn into a disaster that ruins lives.

"[Emergency personnel] do exactly what they'd do on scene, and it can happen in one split second,” Delbridge said. “You get a text message of a party that's happening, you go, and you find out your friends have been in a car accident.”

According to youth alcohol awareness organization Parents Matter, seven South Dakotan teens died in 2016 because of drunk driving.

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