Mock crash shows teens consequence of distracted, impaired drivi - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Mock crash shows teens consequence of distracted, impaired driving

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(MTN News photo) (MTN News photo)

More than 1,300 students from around the region got a live demonstration on how distracted and impaired driving can have serious consequences on Wednesday.

Missoula first responders and Ogren Park at Allegiance Field presented the "Your Choices Matter" Mock Crash in an effort make teens think twice about their decisions when behind the wheel.

In this scenario, a two vehicle crash is caused when a distracted teenage driver crosses the center line and hits a mother and her child head on. An occupant in the teen's car is ejected, while the driver is able to call for help. Emergency responders arrive to find two trapped in the first vehicle, while they aid the girl who was ejected.

After the scenario, two spoke to the students about their own experiences with impaired driving. One was a man convicted of DUI after he caused a crash that killed one of his best friends who was a passenger. The other was the mother of that victim, Cassie Grebele. 

"I look at each and every one of you here today, and I want you to know that you are so loved," Grebele said. "And your parents just want you to be safe. They want you to grow up and live your life. We want you to have fun, but we just want you to be safe and we want you to come home to us."

The man convicted of DUI, Justin Barber now speaks to students about the importance of driving safely, and says this tragedy could have been avoided had he made better choices.

"Everything comes down to a choice, a choice you make," Barber said. "And I made the wrong choice. Most of the time, we generally know what is right and wrong. And most of the time when I do what I know is right, good things happen. But when I go against that grain, then I end up standing here talking to you."

In the end of the scenario, students learned that the daughter of the woman in second car died in the accident. While two in the first car were transported via ambulance, the girl ejected had to be flown via life flight because of her significant injuries.

"Think about saying something," Grebele said. "Think about not getting in that car. And today I'd like you to go home and hug your parents."

The Montana Highway Patrol reports that 29 people have died on Montana roads so far in 2017.

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