Drunk Driving Reality Shown to Lincoln Students 

Every 15 minutes, someone in this country dies in an alcohol related car accident. The students at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln got a very visual reminder of that Wednesday.Every 15 minutes a student at Mattanawcook Academy was pulled from their classroom. An obituary was read. “Alexa we will miss your beautiful smile and nothing will ever fill the void.” Each one symbolized a victim of an alcohol related crash. For the rest of the day, they walked the halls as the living dead. Their parents were notified by law enforcement officials at home. “My mom, we’re really really close, and I know she’ll take it hard.” Their classmates were left behind to contemplate the harsh reality. “It’s showing us what goes on. The reality of what goes on, the reality of drinking and driving.” “I hope it opens everybody’s eyes to it all.”That’s what organizers hope, as we approach prom and graduation season, that this will help kids make smarter decisions. Principal Henry Pietras says, “I think the more realistic this looks like and feels like, I think the more impact it’s gonna have.”Lincoln Police Chief, Bill Flagg adds: “Will we ever stop students from drinking? I wish we could but, no. But to educate them about making the right decision, if it’s gonna happen, they can’t get behind the wheel.”Then the students got to see exactly what can happen if you get behind the wheel, when you’re drunk. A simulated car crash was set up outside the school. Students could only watch as emergency crews cut through the wreckage to get to their classmates. The lifeflight helicopter flew in to take away one of the most injured, but two did not survive this crash. Their parents were asked to come identify the bodies. A visual reminder that some victims of drunk driving crashes, do survive. “This was a lot harder, even though it’s fake, it’s a lot harder than I thought it was gonna be.” Roger Coolong identified his daughter as part of the scenario.Kim Pelkey, who identified her son, agrees. “Everybody kept saying are you OK with this, and I’m like yeah, it’s a staged event, it should be OK. But when the officer knocked on the door to come here, it’s a lot more real.”Sending home a hard lesson, and hoping this scenario never does become reality.The students who were pulled from their classroom as the living dead, were taken to a retreat Wednesday night. They won’t be reunited with their parents until a funeral Thursday morning at the school.