MISSOULA, Mont. - If the high school students watching hadn't gotten the point yet, maybe the hearse drove it home.
First responders staged a realistic accident scene at Loyola Sacred Heart High School's athletic fields to show the consequences of drunk driving. The bright white Cadillac from Garden City Funeral Home was the final act in a dramatic performance.
First responders swarmed over the fake accident scene, rescuing students who volunteered to play victims for the day, bloody makeup and all.
One of the victims is arrested for driving drunk while another student dies. The rest are taken to the hospital; and all of this is set to somber music and a stark narration. The hearse capped it all off.
Two local car crash victims spoke to the students. Both are paralyzed and must use wheelchairs due to the injuries they sustained.
Missoula County first responders are trying to plant the idea of safe, responsible driving right as kids begin to drive for the first time. It's why high school juniors from across the county visited the scene Monday.
Helping to organize this year is Loyola Senior Jake McElroy, who played a victim at last years' event. "This was a wonderful opportunity, especially with a lot of under-aged drinking in today's society. This is a very powerful message and shows the right message to high schools around town."
The Montana Department of Transportation reports 113 of the 205 Montana traffic accident fatalities in 2012 were related to alcohol.