Zephyrhills High School presented a graphic demonstration of the potential dangers of drinking and driving Friday morning in Bulldog Stadium at “Prom Promise.”
Prom Promise depicts a scenario where two cars filled with students leaving the prom crash as a result of one driver having too much to drink. Student actors splattered with fake blood portray the victims. One student dies at the scene, another dies en route to the hospital and others are injured, while the drunken driver is unharmed.
Firefighters and law enforcement personnel from Zephyrhills, Pasco County and the Florida Highway Patrol, as well as a Bayflite helicopter, participated in the presentation.
ZHS Student Resource Officer Jeff Hupp helped coordinate the presentation.
“The purpose of Prom Promise is to show the students a real-life enactment of something that happens when students go to the prom and drink and drive,” Hupp said. “Hopefully by seeing the program they’ll try not to get into a situation like this. If we can save at least one, the program meets its purpose.”
“We did it three years ago and a lot of people came up after and had tears in their eyes,” Hupp added. “The way the accident is staged and with the fire rescue and the helicopter, it’s almost like a real thing that you can come up on. We’ve had students come up crying and saying that going into the program they thought it was just going to be kind of like a play or a joke situation but when they see it for themselves they take a lot from it.”
Students from the ZHS Students Against Drunk Driving and the drama class played the parts of the teens in the accident. Senior Nathan Masters, who played the part of the drunken driver, said he wasn’t certain how to play drunk, but he did so to get the message across.
“My parents have always talked to me about these kinds of things,” Masters said. “They’ve always made sure I don’t make these kind of decisions. That’s kind of why I joined SADD club to make sure to get the word out there, to let people know this is what happens when you make stupid decisions, you either end up killing somebody or you end up dead.”
Alexandra Hatton played a girl who was killed at the scene. She had to be placed in a body bag and taken off in a hearse.
“It was scary,” Hatton said. “I don’t like my face being covered anyway, but it’s definitely something I don’t want to go through … that’s for sure. That was horrible. I sat up in the back, [of the hearse] creeped the guy out that was driving.”
After the program, Savana Wright and Ty Gay, who are going to the prom together this year, were looking at the scene. They thought it was an effective presentation.
“I definitely won’t be getting in a car with anyone who is drinking,” Wright said.
“It made me tear up a bit.” Gay said. “It’s really letting you know how it really is instead of just being told about it. It demonstrated it very well.”
Due to budget constraints, this Prom Promise might be the last one, Hupp said.