Prom and Graduation season are kicking off right now in the Ohio Valley. Thursday morning, a very timely assembly was held at Harrison Central High School, teaching kids about the dangers of drinking and driving, but it was different than your run of the mill lecture, the national Save a Life Tour brought their drunk driving simulator for students to try out, just days before prom. A prom many administrators, law enforcement officials, and county representatives own kids will be going to .
“As a parent, training a 16 year old to drive right now, it hits home,” said HCHS principal Brent Ripley. “It hits home especially when I’m out there riding with her. We want every kid to get home safe and to their parent. Not just after prom or before prom, but after school.”
Harrison County Probate Juvenile Court Judge Matthew Puskarich also has a teenager, and he agrees.
“Young people only think it effects them. It effects all of us,” Puskarich added.
This event was made possible by Puskarich, Harrison County Prosecutor Owen Beetham, as wells as Sheriff Joe Myers. His son has already seen the consequences distracted driving can have in his time as a firefighter.
“I don’t want to end up going somewhere and seeing a classmate on a crash that they’re involved in,” said HCHS junior Evan Myers. “It’s terrifying what we see.”
“The hardest thing for a law enforcement officer to do is go to a family’s home, and tell them their love one has passed due to a car crash and due to alcohol or drug impairment,” the sheriff says.
Students also got to use a drunk driving simulator that showed just how hard it is to keep control of a car, even after just one drink. However, they’re not trying to scare the kids, just show a reality check in the form of videos as well as the simulator.
“They should celebrate,” says Prosecutor Beetham, “but they should do it safely, and they shouldn’t drink and drive and they should text and drive because we don’t want a celebration turning into a tragedy.”
While many of this videos are emotionally impactful, the goal is to keep the 180 kids going to the prom Saturday safe.