High school students get first look at drinking and driving consequences

WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Walton and Paxton High School students got first-hand look at can happen if they drink and drive.

Walton County students were shown a demonstration of what can happen if they drive under the influence. (WJHG/WECP)

First responders and law enforcement officers showed students what a drunk driving accident looks like.

Even though it was only a demonstration, the consequences of drinking and driving are real.

"This presentation is actually very personal to me because when I was 19, when I was just starting my career, I had a 17 year-old, a boy and a girl that were driving home from prom and they were drinking, she died on the scene and he was arrested, so the script is based on that," said Sarah Earley, Lieutenant Paramedic, Walton County Fire Rescue.

Renee Napier lost her daughter in a drinking and driving accident.

She told students to make a plan before going out with friends.

"We try to encourage them to wait until they're 21 to make that choice, but if they do hang out with friends who are drinking and they make that choice that maybe they weren't planning to make, I want them to know that it's important to have a plan ahead of time before you go out with your friends," said Napier.

Napier gives talks around the country to high schoolers, along with Eric Smallridge, the driver who hit her daughter Meagan, and her friend Lisa.

"It's a great time in their life to see what that one poor choice can cause and how much grief it can cause and I hope to instill in them that other people's live matter, their lives matter," said Smallridge.

Smallridge says he served almost ten years for DUI manslaughter, but the burden he carries is a life sentence.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.