BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Police, firefighters and paramedics rushed to Biloxi High School Monday afternoon, but they weren't responding to a real emergency. They were part of a staged event to show students the tragic consequences of drinking and driving. The teens also heard from two dads who had painful stories to tell.
It was a chaotic scene as police and firefighters pulled in the Biloxi High parking lot. In the mock head-on crash, they saw a young man's body lying lifeless through the windshield of a car. His girlfriend was bloodied and unresponsive. In another car, a drunk driver and three passengers were trapped and suffered severe injuries.
"It did seem too real and it was scary," said Biloxi High Junior Brooke Crosby.
The fake victims were real Biloxi High students. The scenario gave the juniors and seniors a sobering reminder, just days before prom.
"Seeing Colin and Melina, the two people that you see every day in the hallway, like so realistically hurt, it's crazy you know. It really shakes you up," said Biloxi High Junior Monica Duenas.
"One of my good friends, he was the main guy who died and walking by and seeing his casket and seeing his picture in his casket, it really gets to you," said Biloxi High Junior Darrell Montiforte.
The lesson took an emotional turn as the students heard from two dads who've felt the heartache no parent ever wants to experience. Former Gulfport Police Chief Alan Weatherford described how his daughter was killed by a drunk driver three years ago. He said one of the toughest parts was explaining DeAnna Tucker's death to her five-year-old son.
"He said to me before he went to bed, 'Papa, you can fix everything.' I wanted to scream. I wanted to holler," said Weatherford.
Julio Bays also talked about his son, Jason Bays. He was a Biloxi High graduate and a soccer player at the MGCCC campus in Perkinston. Jason died in a drunk driving crash on Highway 49 in 2002.
"His head went through the side window and it slid about 20 feet and it was a brain trauma," described Julio Bays.
Their stories were touching.
"If I help one or two of you in this crowd, at least I did my purpose to Jason. And every time I come do a speech, I feel like he's right here with me," said Bays.
"Oh my God, that was so moving. I couldn't imagine knowing somebody so close to Biloxi High passing away," said Monica.
The lessons left quite an impact.
"It really changes how you think. You can have fun on prom, but don't drink and drive," said Darrell. "It really opens up your eyes to what can happen if you drink and drive. It's my first year of prom and I don't want to see my friends hurt like this."
"It's very scary, because I mean, thinking it can take your life or you can get really hurt or you can injure somebody else," said Brooke.
The Campus Security Council and the group SAVE sponsored the event called "Project Impact".