There was a 3.2 percent increase of fatalities from 2014 to 2015 due to drunk driving, according the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. About 10,265 people died in car accidents in 2015 in which at least one of the drivers had a blood alcohol level that was at the legal limit or above.
Delaware County community members joined together Thursday to witness the reality of what it’s like to be involved in a drunk driving incident.
The Delaware County Prevention Council hosted its annual Living Proof Crash Reenactment at Muncie Central High School, where attendees went to a series of scenes that show what it’s like to be involved in a drunk driving crash and the consequences that follow.
First, attendees went to the scene of a funeral, where actors played the role of friends and family members of a girl killed by a drunk driver.
A pastor stood in the front of the room, next to a casket and a chair with flowers it.
“Because you see, the chair isn’t the only thing empty here at school,” he said. “Thanksgiving dinner will have an empty chair.”
Then came a flashback to the night of the crash where it all started.
Partygoers were at a bonfire, drinking alcohol that was provided to them to by the host's parents. One partygoer, Ashley, decided to get behind the wheel and meet her brother on campus to get more alcohol, even though she had already been drinking.
Attendees were then taken outside where two cars had wrecked, one driven by Ashley. Passengers, some with their faces covered in blood, began screaming for help.
They were trying to wake up the driver of the other vehicle, Sarah, who sat in the driver’s seat, blood and glass covering her face. She sat there lifeless, with her head resting on the steering wheel with an airbag that had already been deployed.
Emergency responders rushed to the scene, lights and sirens, and began working the wreck. One passenger of Ashley’s car was taken by EMS and the coroner’s office arrived to take Sarah.
For Ashley, she failed field sobriety tests and was taken into custody by police.
Attendees then began to watch a series of films, from the booking process, to the scene at the hospital where the passenger of Ashley’s car was being treated.
The films were followed by a series of court hearings, the coroner notifying Sarah’s family and parole hearings.
Event organizer Bruce Qualls, who is a retired Muncie police officer, said he got involved with Living Proof when he was on the force.
“We are trying to get the message out to the young drivers that there are consequences when you get behind the wheel when you’re impaired that go far beyond just you,” Qualls said. "You can affect whoever you’ve hit, what you’ve done to them, their family, your family and friends and it's like throwing a pebble into a pool of water; it has a ripple effect, it can affect the whole community.”
Volunteer Dee McKinsey was at the school and helped with the Delaware County Prevention Council booth. McKinsey said an event like this would’ve been unheard of 40 years ago, but now she sees how important they are.
“It’s an amazing event for me to see community come together like this,” McKinsey said. "This is my first year, but a lot of them have done it year after year after year."