Students get crash course in DUI

Senior Justin Childress is lead away in handcuffs as part of a DUI reenactment Thursday at Sumter High School.

Sumter, S.C. (WACH) - First responders rushed to an accident scene and found four Sumter High School students in a tangled mess of glass and metal.

They found senior Justin Childress slumped over the wheel along with three of his classmates. Two of them were injured, one was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The coroner said I was the first live person he ever put in a body bag," said senior Lexi Melton.

Melton and her classmates played the part of the injured teens in a DUI reenactment before hundreds of their peers at Sumter High Thursday. All of the students involved in the event are OK.

"It was pretty scary,â?? said junior Jane Dingle, who was carted away in a gurney. â??I've been in accidents before, but I haven't been in something this traumatic, it was horrifying."

Childress was charged with DUI and faced a mock trial in the schoolâ??s gym.

"I learned that handcuffs are painful,â?? said Childress. â??It's not too comfortable, but going to prison would be an awful experience."

It took several months for school officials and rescue personnel to put the exercise together.

"We wanted to take this as an opportunity to show them the choices and decisions they make will follow them for the rest of their lives,â?? said Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark.

If Justin had any doubts before this exercise, he knows what choices he will make going forward. "I probably won't drink or drive. That's for sure. It's a terrifying experience in general."

SHS holds its prom April 21st. Roark says his officers will be out patrolling that weekend making sure something like this doesnâ??t happen in real life.