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Students enact mock DUI court case to highlight consequences of drunk driving

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BUENA VISTA (WSLS 10) - High school students in Buena Vista take part in a mock drunk-driving trial. With prom around the corner and April being Distracted Driving Awareness Month, school leaders hoped to show students the consequences of drunk driving.

"What's your verdict: guilty or not guilty?" asked Michael Irvine, Buena Vista's former circuit court judge.

Perry McCluer High School students filled the gymnasium. With one of their own on the stand as the accused being tried as an adult, this brought a serious issue into perspective.

"We want the kids to understand they're not invincible and it can happen to you," said Buena Vista Police Officer David Ramsey.

Acting as courtroom bailiff, Ramsey told us it took about 10-months to organize this mock drunk driving trial.

The city's prosecutor and former circuit court judge play their parts. And seniors take on the roles on the jury and defense.

"I had to work so hard...days of research just to find things to prove them as innocent or disqualify the evidence against them," said Senior Sarah Cooa, acting as the defense. "It was very hard to compile that all together."

Using video as case evidence from the school's mock DUI crash last year and using students to play the victim and accused -- made this enactment a bit more real for the entire student body to understand.

"It was devastating," commented Senior Codi Helmick. "You don't know what's going to happen or who's going to get killed. But, it's horrible knowing it could happen."

"There is nothing scarier than losing people that you know and having to fight for freedom for those people," said Cooa.

In this case, the driver blew a one-point-zero-nine after failing a series of sobriety field tests. That information was relayed to the jury. After deliberation the accused was sentenced to nine-years in prison.

With guidance from the judge it was a choice made by the student jury. The accused was found guilty for involuntary manslaughter, injury of the passenger and reckless driving.

With prom nearing, police hope it's a clear message to students to not drink and drive.