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Students, law enforcement stage fatal crash scene; hope to prevent drunken driving on prom night

LADSON, SC (WCSC) -  Bruises, blood, and alcohol by the bottle.

That was the scene Tuesday, as Charleston county law enforcement agencies teamed up with area students, staging a series of automobile crash scenarios, all of which started after a prom night of drinking and driving.

Captain Chad Kelly, of St. Johns Fire District, said officials hope to deter students with real-life experiences, rather than have them sign the traditional pledge.

"A piece of paper doesn't mean a lot, especially when you're younger," he said.

Instead, teenagers from the drama team at Faith Assembly Church in Summerville, and TEAM CERT, a student-based community emergency response team, played the role of drunken drivers, bystanders, and crash victims, while shooting a video that will later be shown at six schools across the lowcountry.

Says Team CERT Chief, Haley Ghi, also a 17-year-old student at West Ashley High School, even though underage drinking is illegal, it's not uncommon.

"You're surrounded by your friends who are drinking and partying and having a good time," Ghi said.

"You feel like you have to be at that point in order to have a good time with them, and that's not the case."

Ghi spoke of friends who survived drunken driving crashes, unlike her sister's friend, who did not.

"No one should be put through that pain," she said.  "No one should lose their life over alcohol."

"It really hits home," added Captain Kelly, who said first responders often know crash victims and their families.

"This could have been my kid, and you're trying to figure out what you could have done to make a difference."

In the coming weeks, officials will also hold a mock DUI trial at each school, with actual lawyers and judges.

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