Published: Apr 09, 2011 2:30 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 09, 2011 11:31 AM EDT

Students at Lemon Bay Senior High School got a taste of tragedy on Friday. But it was all staged for their benefit.



Several hundred students watch on as two cars collided head on behind their school in Lemon Bay. They got to witness emergency crews and Police Officers respond to the accident. One girl was pronounced dead on the scene and the driver of that vehicle was carted off to jail for driving under the influence of alcohol. The driver of the other vehicle had been texting while driving and was not paying attention to the road.


But none of it was real. Its all part of an elaborate program called Prom Promise. It is designed to let the kids see and experience what a real crash scene is like and how it unfolds. Juniors and Seniors from the school watched for over an hour as fire crews cut an injured driver from a car with the jaws of life. Triage was performed in the field and the victim was carted into an ambulance and whisked away.


In the meantime, employees from a local funeral home entered the staging to put the "dead" student into a body bag and load her up into a waiting hearse. Several hundred students watched on as the scenario unfolded in front of them and some of them were visibly moved by the activity.


Organizers point out that the event is designed not to scare the students, but to educate them on what a tragedy really looks like. "It gives those students a chance to see what really occurs. They get their private viewing of all the agencies it takes to run a collision scene." Said Dee Hawkins from Charlotte Fire and EMS. The event was timed to coordinate with the Schools prom which is scheduled for next weekend. Organizers know that staging an event like this has an impact on how students approach their prom night and how responsibly they act behind the wheel. As Hawkins put it: "As they watched a student of their high school being zipped in a body bag, they got it."