MACEDONIA, Ohio - Summit County Sheriff Deputies, Macedonia Police, paramedics and rescuers from the Macedonia Fire Department converged on Nordonia High School early Monday with lights flashing and sirens blaring, hoping to help teach a lesson that cannot be taught in a classroom.
Outside of the school, two cars appeared to have crashed head on, throwing one driver, a Nordonia classmate, through the windshield of her car, killing her.
Although it was not real, it was intended to seem that way.
The scenario is this: A car with four teens in it has left a party at which alcohol was served. It crashes into the car of another teen leaving the same party and although she had not been drinking she is the one who dies.
The response by local officials and rescuers is played out in real time.
Rescuers tend to the injured while deputies give Ben Helkowski, a senior who portrayed a drunk driver, the same field sobriety test he would have been given if the crash were real.
"It was kind of weird to see what like drinking and driving can actually do and how it can affect people," said Helkowski from the back seat of a deputies cruiser where he was handcuffed and treated as if he was actually in custody.
"It was really uncomfortable and, yeah that's probably the best way to explain it, the cuffs were really like, tight and the seat back here is really like, tight too," he added.
"Ben Helkowski, is my best friend and if this actually happened to him I wouldn't be able to see him. He would be in jail for the rest of his life, so just seeing what could actually happen to my best friend, that's the most sobering part for me," said Zack Zuercher.
For other students seeing a friend and classmate not moving on the hood of her car was the most eye opening part of the simulation.
"Just seeing that girl on the car honestly and just knowing that she is never coming back, that's kind of heartbreaking," said Victor Hudson.
"It was really realistic and the way they just like, left Nikki, the one that died, just laying there, that was just harsh, because I thought they would cover her up or something but they just left her there. It was really realistic," said classmate Madeline Rastatter.
Nordonia Principal Casey Wright hopes the effort will leave a lasting image in the minds of some 500 students as they head out to their prom this Saturday.
"Our students are great and they will listen to anything we say, but sometimes on Saturday night, they are not thinking about what we said to them. This will put an image in their mind of exactly what happens if those choices are made," said Wright.
The simulation ends with a mock trial later in the week for the student who was 'arrested' on Monday.