WHITMIRE — Ahead of Whitmire Community School’s prom, students watched first-hand the effects of drinking and driving in a Prom Promise skit.
“When you make a decision to drink and drive, you’re effecting not only yourself, but you’re effecting your family too, by making one bad choice. When you drink, one of the first things that goes is your judgment, your ability to judge whether or not it’s safe for you to drive,” said Terecia Wilson, Newberry County Coalition on Underage Drinking coordinator. “After taking that first drink you are on the step towards tragedy if you continue to drink and make the decision to drive.”
Newberry County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sherri Scott shared with the students the consequences of what their future could be like if they decided to drink and drive.
“Fifteen to 25 years is what you can get for a fatality. Don’t become a statistic this weekend, make the right choices and make the right decisions,” Scott said.
Wilson also shared with the students a story about one of her friends, whose life was changed forever all because of one decision.
“They had something called Senior Cut Day and she was a beautiful young lady, had a basketball scholarship all lined up and on Senior Cut Day she and some of her friends were going to the lake. They stopped on the way, somebody had a fake I.D., and they got a case of beer, the driver was drinking, some of the others were drinking and they were in a wreck that day,” Wilson said. “My friend was severely injured in that wreck and as a result of that crash she is a quadriplegic, she can’t move her legs, she has very limited motion with her hands, somebody has to dress her, cut her food and with the help of a brace can cut her food.”
Wilson’s friend, who is now in her 50s, has been in a wheelchair since she was 17 years old and has gone through multiple surgeries as a result of the wreck.
Newberry County Coroner Laura Kneece talked with the students about her job as coroner and the reality of delivering news that a child is never coming home.
“How would you feel if I came to your house and just told your parents that you were never coming home? That your dad would never walk you down the aisle and they would never see grandchildren,” Kneece said. “Alcohol and cars do not mix, my job is to knock on somebody’s door at two o’clock in the morning and give them the worst news they will ever get in their life, that their baby is never coming home.”
Scott encouraged students to have fun on prom night, but stressed to the students drinking and driving is a life-changing decision.
“It’s not funny kids. Remember, the decisions that you choose to make can change somebody’s life, not just your life, but your parent’s life. It’s funny in the parking lot, but it’s not funny in real life, and that’s what we want you to take seriously,” she said.
Newberry County EMT Bridgett Parsons wanted to make the skit come across as realistic as possible for the students.
“We didn’t come out here to play pretend, we came out here to make this as realistic as possible. This does not just effect you,” she said. “If you don’t feel like you are strong enough to be with the crowd stay at home, find new friends, have somebody that is going to give you good advice, good friendship because the choices that you make today impact your future. Everything that you do makes a difference.”