Pampa High School students reenact drunk driving accident

Students in Pampa were pulled from their classes today in an attempt to bring to life the dangers of drinking and driving through the "Shattered Dreams" program.

Statistics show one person dies in an alcohol related accident every 15 minutes.

So every 15 minutes, a teacher dressed as the Grim reaper pulled students out of class today.

An obituary written by their parents was read and they will not return to class until tomorrow afternoon.

"Writing your child's obituary, writing a letter to them as if they were gone, was much harder, even with the thoughts in my head that it was pretend, this is not real," said Kim Powell, Pampa High School parent.  "It was so hard, I did a lot of crying that night."

It's all part of a two day program to make teens aware of the dangers of drinking and driving.

This morning, a handful of Senior students acted out a crash scene involving a group of teens who'd been drinking.

Pampa High School students watched in silence after hearing a mock 911 call reporting the accident.

"They are very quiet and that is very unusual for a high school this size," said Suzanne Pingel, Pampa High School Safe and Drug Free Schools Coordinator.  "It was also quiet going back into the school after watching the crash scene."

A survey of Pampa ISD students says students there binge drink in higher rates than the state average.

2008 Statistics from 7th-12th grade Pampa ISD students surveyed:

  • 69% say alcohol was somewhat easy or very easy to obtain (66% statewide)
  • 33% of students admitting to drink say they obtain alcohol at parties (29% statewide)
  • 31% of students admitting to drink say they obtain alcohol from friends (24% statewide)
  • 8% of students admitting to drink say they obtain alcohol from stores (7% statewide)
  • 37% say they consumed alcohol during the past month (30% statewide)
  • 13% say they've attended at least one class during the past school year while "drunk" (8% statewide)
  • 20% of high schoolers say they had driven a car after having "a good bit to drink" during the past year (11% statewide)
  • 6% of high schoolers say they had driven while intoxicated four or more times during the past year (3% statewide)

Authorities want teens to know alcohol related accidents do happen-- and can happen to them.

"This happens a lot, this can really happen," said Rion McCarthy, Senior TABC Agent.  "If you start drinking at a young age this is the end result. This is a play, but in reality we've been to wrecks like this and unfortunately it happens a lot this is what can really happen."

High school parents in Pampa agree.

"I think one thing that we see in this age group is that is happens to somebody else, it doesn't happen to me," said Powell.  "And these were people that they knew. These were people that they were in high school with."

Students looked on as their peers were cut from the wreckage and even flown to area hospitals by helicopter.

Teachers, parents, and city officials hope they will remember the message this weekend during Prom.