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First responders show Park City High students real impacts of drunk driving

Friday morning's demonstration at the LDS Church parking lot next to Park City High School.
Parker Malatesta
Friday morning's demonstration at the LDS Church parking lot next to Park City High School.

Park City High School students saw upclose how one bad decision can have drastic impacts Friday.

As graduation approaches each year, Park City High School invites seniors out to the nearby LDS church parking lot for a dramatic reenactment showing the far-reaching effects of driving under the influence.

Student actors along with police officers and firefighters play the roles.

Here’s the setup: a group of students leave a party, confident their friend Ella can drive after having a few drinks. They claim it’ll be OK because it’s a short trip. But Ella swerves on the road and crashes into another car, changing their lives forever.

"One person is through the windshield, I don’t know if she’s OK, she’s not waking up," Ella says on a faux phone call with emergency dispatch.

In the demonstration, Ella’s friend was killed in the crash and picked up by a funeral hearse. Firefighters had to rescue an injured passenger trapped in the other car and a medical helicopter landed in the parking lot to take them to the hospital. Officers then arrested Ella for driving under the influence.

More than 100 students watched the scene unfold, including a senior named Q.

A few years ago Q lost loved ones to a drunk driver. He said he supports exposing his peers to the devastation it can cause.

“It sucks because people should know their limits,” Q said. “The state of Utah, the reason why the alcohol level is so low, it’s only 0.5 [BAC], is because of drinking and driving. If you’re over the limit, that’s your fault. You should’ve known better.”

Park City Police Lt. Jay Randall said it’s an important lesson as seniors graduate and head out into the real world.

“It’s a great opportunity and one that we can put emphasis on obviously not drinking and driving, but in a way that allows these young individuals to see the impacts without having actually experienced them,” Randall said. “That is probably more profound than anything.”

Students later attended a lecture at the Eccles Center, where they heard about real life experiences from emergency responders.

Park City seniors will graduate at Dozier Field Friday, June 7, the last day of school.