Wednesday, Sept. 18, at Nederland High School, students were presented with a preview of what to expect if they make the wrong decision and choose to drink and drive.
With the help of student actors, participants staged a mock accident involving one fatality, one critically injured that was transported by Air-Rescue helicopter, three injured that were transported by Acadian Ambulance Service and one driver that was “placed under arrest” for driving while intoxicated and intoxication manslaughter.
“The message is about the dangers of drinking and driving,” said Nederland High School Principal Steven Beagle. “We’re concerned about student safety and making sure our kids make good decisions. If something like this can have a lasting impact and help them make good decisions, we by all means want to help them do that.”
“Shattered Dreams” was a collective effort by the Jefferson County Sheriff Office, the Department of Public Safety, Nederland Fire Department, Nederland Police Department, MADD and others.
"It's about living and dying," said Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy Rod Carroll. "It only takes one bad decision to cause a domino effect of bad consequences. This (dramatization) drives home what's going to happen."
Carroll said that the St. Elizabeth Trauma unit and was brought in to make the accident look more realistic.
"They do what is called moulage," Carroll said. "Moulage is where you make the injuries look real. You use theater blood. You use wax to make the injuries look grotesque ...lacerations to the skin...muscle tissue...things like that. It makes it look realistic for the kids."
Last Friday, Sept. 13, student actors and other participants filmed trips to the morgue, jail, hospital and Judge Brad Burnett's courtroom for students to watch at assembly Sept. 19 to make the experience that much more impactful, Carroll said.
Carroll said the journalism students at Nederland High School worked until 10 or 11 o'clock Wednesday night, Sept. 18 to get the video ready to show at a student assembly the next day — the second part of the two-part program.
The assembly included speakers from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and featured Jay Danner — a parent that lost a child to a DWI.
"His son had been in Hardin County on the river all day long floatin' four-wheelers and having a good time," said Kathy Bell-Schexnaider, victims services specialist at the East Texas division of MADD. "They had planned to stay there overnight, but they had not gotten firewood. They actually came out away from the river to go get firewood. They lost control of the vehicle and wrapped it around a tree on Highway 92, north of Silsbee. His son had massive injuries and died."
Bell-Schexnaider said that presentations like "Shattered Dreams" help wake teens up to the dangers of making bad decisions.
"Kids live in a desensitized world because of what's on TV and on games," she said. "This is as close as we can get to a real life thing for them to see. I just think it's a tool we can use that hopefully gets these kids attention."