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High school students witness the possibly lethal results of driving drunk during demonstration

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By Alex Paris

Blood, smoke and tears—that was the scene Tuesday morning at San Juan Hills High School during a mock DUI crash on the school’s campus. Presented by Friends Against Drinking and Driving (FADD), the Orange County Fire Authority and the California Highway Patrol, the demonstration—involving student actors and emergency responders—aimed to show students the potentially lethal results of driving while intoxicated.

A crowd of high school students watched in silence as police officers, paramedics and firefighters convincingly reenacted a fatal collision response. Student actors screamed in apparent denial at the bodies of fellow students that were covered with a sheet or loaded into an ambulance, while firefighters extinguished a fire and extricated another student actor by cutting the roof off a car. The scene ended with the arrest of the driver and a tearful eulogy by the friends of the “deceased.”

“We want to show students what happens when you text or drink and drive, so that hopefully they never do it,” said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi, founder and chairman of FADD.

Tuesday marked the 94th mock DUI that FADD has performed since the first demonstration in 1991. Concialdi founded the nonprofit in 1989 in an effort to reduce the instances of drinking and driving, the consequences of which he witnessed while working as a paramedic.

San Juan Hills senior Devynn Madrid played the role of a drunk driver during Tuesday’s mock crash and described the experience as “very impactful.”

“I experienced emotions I’d never imagined before,” she said.

The demonstration was organized by FADD, OCFA, CHP, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Care Ambulance Service, the Trauma Intervention Program (TIP), O’Connor Mortuary, Mission Hospital and Quality Towing.

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