Crash Reenactment at Chiles High Hits Close to Home

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Updated 6:15 p.m. 10/20

Two cars collide right in front of Chiles High School and students run to help. But it was all fake, to encourage teen drivers to be careful on the roadway.

"I think it makes it firsthand, because when you hear about statistics it kind of goes right over your head, but seeing it, it makes you really think about it," said Rebecca Hunter, a 10th grader at Chiles High School.

"It made me empathetic for them. Because you know I couldn't imagine seeing friends or any peers of mine in a situation like this," said Chelsea Jones, an 11th grader at Chiles High School.

Students watched in awe as law enforcement officers and paramedics treated the victims. Deputies even gave one of the drivers a sobriety test, which she failed, showing students that drinking and driving can be deadly.

"It's such a big problem that needs to be dealt with. And it's so easily, it's 100 percent preventable so I just really think we need to do our part," said Christine Arnold, who played a victim and is a 12th grader at Chiles High School.

For Allison Killius, who's playing an injured victim, the reenactment hits close to home. She recalls when her friend, 17-year-old Morgan Hooper was killed in a tragic accident back in January. That crash was NOT alcohol related, but Killius says this reenactment brings back painful memories. "I was like the most injured out of all of us and so I kind of felt like, was this how she felt when she was in the car? Because she was still alive for a little bit. So I was just trying to imagine the pain that she was in," said Killius, who's in 12th grade at Chiles.

At Tuesday's event authorities stressed the importance of safe driving habits, like using seat belts, slowing down, and not using your cell phone to talk or text.

The Leon County Sheriff's Office teamed up with State Farm to make it possible as part of National Teen Driver Safety week.

Florida Department of Transportation Statistics:

- In 2008, 18-year-old drivers in Florida had the highest rate of crash involvement in all crashes, while 19-year-old drivers had the highest rate of fatal crashes.

- Nationwide in 2008, 37% of 15-20 year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding.

- Nationwide in 2008, 4,054 teens between the ages of 13-19 died in motor vehicle crashes.

- 60% of teens know inexperience heavily influences safety, but only 15% correctly view their peers as inexperienced drivers.
Chiles high school students watched in awe as the front of their school transformed into a crime scene. A fire truck, ambulance, and law enforcement officers quickly responded to the scene of a car crash involving five students and two dummies.

Their peers watched as officials went along with the fake accident, even giving the driver a sobriety test, which she clearly failed. While the crash wasn't real, fellow students and those involved say the reenactment has more of an impact on them rather than sitting in a classroom.

"Seeing your peers rather than hearing horror stories and videos and pictures and all the slide-shows that they show us, this hits home more because it's people that they know. And you know it's fake but still you get to see that real emotion there," said Erik Reed, a senior at Chiles, who played one of the victims.

Teens are involved in three times as many fatal crash as all other drivers nationwide. Tuesday's event is part of National Teen Driver Safety Week and the goal is to reverse this deadly trend. The Leon County Sheriff's Office partnered with State Farm to hold this crash.

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