CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. – Editorial note: Photos included within this story are from a reenactment of a DUI crash, and the people involved are actors. They were not injured and no actual crash occurred.
It’s a jarring scene and appears to be a real deadly crash, but in reality, it’s a reenactment used to teach students at Camden County High School about the dangers of driving under the influence.
The Georgia State Patrol wanted the high schoolers to see firsthand what first responders are called to almost every day, and they want those students to understand the consequences of underage drinking and driving.
In the reenactment, an eyewitness calls 911 and runs to one of the cars involved in the crash.
“Are you okay?” “You’re bleeding. Are you hurt?” they ask.
The crash scene involves actors, a rescue helicopter and actual first responders.
Sgt. Daniel Chernich said he hopes the teenagers watching the display learn a valuable lesson about underage drinking and driving.
“Their actions behind the wheel from drinking and driving will cause them to drive in an unsafe manner and potentially hurt someone or kill someone,” Chernich said.
The reenactment included real paramedics tending to what appeared to be multiple victims, one of whom had to be airlifted. Another victim was said to have died at the scene.
Chernich says in reality, for the Georgia State Patrol — “This occurs almost on a daily basis.”
Chernich wants the students to know the toughest part of his job is notifying parents about their child’s death as a result of a DUI crash.
“It’s honestly one of the worst things I’ve ever had to do,” he said. “I don’t ever want to do it again, but I know it’s going to happen.”
As for an actor posing as a driver who caused the crash, he struggled to pass a field sobriety test.
“Place your hands behind your back. I’m locking you up for driving under the influence,” a first responder said.
He gets a one-way trip to the county jail. If convicted, he’s looking at spending many years in a Georgia prison.