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Students see results of bad choices
Prom Promise for LCHS
Prom Promise CROP
A Georgia State Patrol trooper handcuffs Liberty County High School student Jonatham Campbell during a staged wreck between two vehicles as part of Prom Promise on Thursday morning. Campbell played the part of the drunk driver and failed field-sobriety tests. - photo by Photo by Tiffany King

Prom-goers from Liberty County High School got a chance to know what driving under the influence feels like and see its consequences on Thursday at the annual Prom Promise event.
The program is a vivid demonstration to students of the dangers of DUI and distracted driving on prom night.
Students first heard from Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes and Chief Deputy Jon Long. Sikes emphasized the importance of seat-belt safety, and Long encouraged students to think about their future.
“Today is about the future. There are so many prospects, opportunities … so listen up today. Stay safe on the street,” Long said. “Hopefully this (prom) weekend will be a positive experience for you. It’s all about the future and making the right choices.”
The main speaker was Adam Cochran, who caused a fatal accident in 2004 that resulted in the deaths of three people. Cochran was sentenced to seven years in prison for vehicular homicide, speeding, DUI and driving the wrong way. To deter others from following in his footsteps, Cochran volunteers to speak at schools about the consequences of drinking and driving. He encouraged students to make the right decisions.
“See, all this could have been avoided if my choices would have been clearer — if I had a plan. You see, I had choices,” he said. “I could’ve stayed in a hotel room, or could’ve had my fiancée come and pick me up, or I could’ve slept in my vehicle — but I didn’t. My crime shows you that I was out of control. There’s a whole different side of this because I’m home, but the people I hit aren’t home. All of this could have been avoided. It’s all about choices.”
After listening to Cochran, students separated into groups to engage in different interactive stations — a main function of Prom Promise.
A rollover simulator demonstrated what happens when passengers do not wear seat belts. Dummies were placed inside a pickup truck, and as the simulator flipped the vehicle multiple times, students saw the dummies be ejected from the truck.
Another station had students try to throw a football through wood-carved holes for points. After three warm-up throws, students put on vision-impaired goggles that simulated being under the influence. They saw how the trajectory of throws was vastly different compared to the attempts without the goggles —with some students almost getting hit by the football.  
A texting-while-driving simulator program, demonstrated by Gary Sanchez of AT&T External Affairs, featured a steering wheel and pedals connected to a computer. The program shows how the person is driving. The driver receives a text message and answers it on a provided phone. As students looked to answer the text, the simulator showed them crashing into other vehicles, moving too slowly, speeding or running a red light.
Driving golf carts with the vision-impaired goggles is a favorite activity at Prom Promise. Fort Stewart soldiers with the Army Substance Abuse Program, 385th Military Police Support Battalion, rode with students who drove through an obstacle course. Some students were able to maneuver through the course, while others ran over traffic cones and onto the sidewalk.
Prom Promise culminated with a staged wreck between two vehicles on prom night. Liberty County High student Jonathan Campbell played the drunk driver, and the accident victims were played by Charlotte Norsworthy and Alec Wimmer. The actors were covered in fake blood with realistic wounds to highlight the severity of the accident.
Georgia State Patrol arrived at the wreck and arrested the drunk driver after he failed the field-sobriety test. Students watched as firefighters used tools to break car windows and remove a car roof to reach the accident victims. Norsworthy was placed on a stretcher by Liberty County EMS, while Wimmer was declared dead at the scene and placed in a body bag by the coroner.
“I learned that it’s more important to call your mom and admit what you’ve done wrong instead of putting yourself in a predicament where you could be hurting yourself or others who are innocent,” LCHS senior Tiffany Erickson said.
Other volunteers with the LCHS Prom Promise included the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Liberty County EMS, Midway Fire Department, Liberty County Coroner Reginald Pierce, State Farm representative Melissa Ray and Coastal Auto, who provided the wrecked vehicles.

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