The "Ghost Out" is exercise designed to show students the very real consequences of drinking and driving. (WRDW-TV / March 29, 2012)
News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, March 29, 2012
GIBSON, Ga. -- A simulated drunken driving accident is giving students at Glascock County Consolidated School a lot to think about with one of their classmates dead, another life flighted to a hospital and the third arrested by police. But it was all just an exercise designed to show students the very real consequences of drinking and driving.
It's called a "Ghost Out." Deputy Jeremy Kelley of the Glascock County Sheriff's Office helped plan the event.
"We pull one student out every 30 minutes," he said. "We'll paint their face white, give them a 'Ghost Out' T-shirt, and then they can't talk to anyone else for the rest of the day."
Those students represent a frightening number -- every 30 minutes someone in the U.S. dies as a result of an alcohol-involved accident.
Senior Abby Swint was one of the ghosted students.
"We all represent the number of people that have died today all over the country," she said.
The ghosted students all sat together with their classmates as they watched in real time what can happen by drinking and driving.
Sophomore Michael Robinson watched the simulated accident.
"It just shows you what can really happen in real life and it shows you how hard it would be to lose someone like that," he said.
Three other students acted out the scene of an accident as police, emergency crews and even a life flight helicopter crew responded.
"They don't actually get to see what we see at two or three in the morning when a drunk driver does have an accident, so this puts it right in front of them about what happens and what consequences are due to the choices that they make for drunk driving," Kelley said.
Consequences many students hope they never have to deal with.
"It shows us reality what can really happen to us and it makes us realize we need to be safe and responsible," said Whitney Sherrer, a senior who was also a ghosted student.
And officers say now is the best time to learn about this.
"We're starting into the season where we see more DUI underage; you've got spring break, you've got prom, you've got summertime," Kelley said.
A season he hopes won't be as busy this year.
The "Ghost Out" was a community effort with agencies from all over Glascock and McDuffie counties all taking part. They say this is very personal for them because many times when they respond to a DUI crash, they know the victims.
Students at Thomson High School also had a "Ghost Out" on their campus Thursday.