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Madrid-Waddington students teach others about the dangers of drinking and driving

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MADRID — Students at Madrid-Waddington Central School got a first-hand look at the dangers of drinking and driving Monday.

In a mock but realistic demonstration of an alcohol-related accident, they witnessed the repercussions of drinking before getting behind the wheel.

Ten students from Madrid’s and Waddington’s Explorers programs acted as crash victims.

They wore makeup and paint to portray those injured in the alcohol-related crash.

Preparation for the event took about an hour and a half, said Bethany M. Sochia, 15, a junior firefighter who portrayed a victim thrown from the vehicle.

“We use a lot of wax and clay and paint on our skin to make it look real,” she said.

Ms. Sochia said she hopes to become an emergency medical technician once she turns 18.

In the mock crash, one victim died at the scene, several were sent to the hospital with major injuries, and a driver went to jail.

Organizers said the event is an effective way to show students the real-life dangers of drinking and driving.

“We have lost quite a few students over the years,” Madrid First Assistant Chief Scott G. Hough said. “With summer coming and outdoor parties, we thought maybe we could get together and try to show them how they can prevent this from happening in the future.”

Junior Natalie L. Boland, 16, said she hopes the drill will help raise awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving during prom season.

“Even one drink is too many,” she said.

More than 40 West Potsdam first responders and Madrid and Waddington firefighters and rescue personnel participated.

“We are thankful to high school Principal Bryan Harmer, and all the organizations that took part today,” Mr. Hough said. “Over 40 people took the day off to participate in the drill. That shows the importance of this drill. But we can’t do it without our junior volunteers. It gets pretty hairy when we are cutting those cars apart. There’s glass breaking all around them and they have to remain still. We owe them a lot.”

The two vehicles were donated by Wayne’s Gas & Service. State police officers Zachary P. Benson and Daniel L. Eberly also participated in the event.

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