Northview student at distracted driving simulation: 'It felt very real'

A West Michigan high school gets an up-close look at what it could happen when a person drives drunk or distracted.

A West Michigan high school gets an up-close look at what it could happen when a person drives drunk or distracted.

Northview High School's prom is Friday, April 28, so first responders created an accident simulator to show students the risks of distracted driving -- a split second decision could mean life or death.

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"There was a lot of sounds, a lot of loud noises, after he got out I was alone, like there was no one there," junior Ellie Haveman said. "There was a lot of emotions running through my body, I was kind of like hyperventilating, my hands got numb and I would not -- I knew it was fake but it still hit me hard, it felt very real."

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It began with the driver of the white SUV and a passenger jumping out of the car to check on their friend, Shelby, who was ejected.

Shelby died.

"By having them act or get into the feeling of actually being part of the incident, they're able to understand the actual feelings from the sounds to the feel to everyone involved and they get to see the whole project," school resource officer Deputy Andrew Kozal said.

The scene continued as first responders used the jaws of life to get two other injured students out of the white SUV.

"I hope they realize how big of an impact a small decision can make, whether it's turning on the radio too loud, texting a friend quickly, snapchatting -- anything like that can lead to a world of disorder, it can lead to someone losing their life, their close friend even," Kozal said.

Shelby's mother was crying over her daughter's body.

"Just like any other decision, it takes a split second for that decision to be destructive especially with a vehicle where your life or someone else's life can be at fault," Kozal said.

Then, students saw how nurses and doctors handle the situation from the ER before finally Shelby's funeral and the sentencing for the at-fault driver.

The school puts on the demonstration every year during prom week in hopes of preventing a tragic end to their evening, or any other time while behind the wheel.

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In December of last year, Northview student Stephen Rathbun was killed in a car crash.

Note: The scene was a demonstration, the students involved were actors.

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