Prom season is here and Owego and Tioga County officials set up a mock drunk driving crash at Owego Free Academy in an effort to remind students to be mindful of their decisions, especially behind the wheel. But as our Carmen Perez tells us, this "mock" scenario is one that has been a reality for this community in the recent past.
SOUTHERN TIER, N.Y. -- There was nothing real about the mock crash at Owego Free Academy Monday afternoon, except that it could be.
"When you see your friends like that, it makes you think it could actually be your friends, it could be you," said OFA senior Niko Fuller.
"I've seen a lot of this stuff happen before and I think it is good for my classmates to see and realize the importance of being safe and making good decisions," OFA senior Andy Vought said.
Students and local officials hope to send the very real message that it could happen to you.
"Every year, regrettably, there is severe accidents where some of these students are either going to get physically injured or some may die because of a bad choice or bad decision," said Tioga County Undersheriff Michael Jackson.
Even though the crash is just a simulation, the scenario is all too familiar for some in the Owego community
"I know people, like last year with that accident, I know who died and everything and it just, it hurt and I think it has made everyone hurt around us in the environment," OFA senior Kimberly Rogers said.
Last August, Viviana Peña, a recent OFA graduate, was killed while riding in a car driven by a drunk driver. Her death shook the small Owego community and was a very real presence during the demonstration.
"Unfortunately, this has been a reality in the community recently and some of the kids, it is a first person experience for them, it is something we don't want to repeat," OFA Principal Heath Georgia said.
A reminder for students that the consequences of their actions don't just apply to them.
"It would shake the school really bad, to be honest with you, if anyone got killed or hurt real bad or anything like that," OFA senior Connor Bryant said.
A mock demonstration that carries a sobering message for students.