Pre-prom accident reenactment brings home dangers of drinking and driving

There was a scene of carnage at Monroe Area High School Thursday morning which, had it been real, would have ended the life of one student, injured three others, one likely critically, and effectively ended the future of two others by having them finish their high school years with a prison sentence.

Fortunately, however, it was just a reenactment, performed annually by various schools in the area on the eve of prom season to show just what could happen. The scene prompted some tears, some looks of concern, and a couple of laughs when Walton County Sheriff’s Deputies had to chase down an escaping driving under the influence suspect. But the purpose of these annual reenactments is to remind students as they finish up their high schools years not to do anything that could negatively impact their future or even rob them of it entirely.

Reenactment photos from Monroe Area High School April 14, 2016

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If the reenactment wasn’t realistic enough for students, a former Monroe Area High School student, Casey Bradley, spoke to them at the end of the reenactment, sharing his real life story from back when he was at the starting quarterback at MAHS and then at Georgia Southern. Bradley managed to get off with a slap on the wrist for a DUI when he was in high school, but was not so lucky while he was in college at Georgia Southern outside Savannah, Ga..

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Casey Bradley, addressing students of Monroe Area High School at the 2016 pre-prom wreck reenactment.

Bradley told students that while he didn’t drive drunk, but he had been drinking and got into the back seat of a car with two friends who also had been drinking. The wreck that followed left him severely injured and killed the two friends in the front seats.

“They were decapitated,” Bradley said. He went on to say that he was flown to a trauma center critically injured, was in a coma for a while and lost the eyesight in his left eye. He even removed his left eye to prove his point to the students.The wreck almost ended his life and effectively ended his chance at a promising career in the NFL.

“I had the squat record, vertical league record, I was big, I was strong. And all that was changed in one night because I decided to get in the car with someone who was drinking and driving,” Bradley said. “Please don’t think that can’t happen to you. It can.”

Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapment asking students at Monroe Area High School to put away cell phones while driving.
Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapment asking students at Monroe Area High School to put away cell phones while driving.

Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman also addressed the students at the end of the reenactment, reminding them that it isn’t just the dangers of drinking and driving anymore. He said distracted driving and texting accounts for more deaths among teens now. He asked that when a driver gets in the car, he or she close the cell phone in the glove compartment.

“We don’t want to scare you to death, we want you to have fun, but use your head. Don’t do anything stupid,” Chapman said. “And if your friends are being stupid, tell them they’re being stupid. Take control of it – don’t worry about peer pressure.”

Monroe Fire Department, Monroe Police Department, Walton County Fire Rescue, Walton County EMS, Walton County Sheriff’s Office, Walton County 911 and a representative from AirMedCare with a helicopter all participated in the event. The Monroe Area High School prom is on Saturday night.

 

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