Breckenridge Texan

Shattered Dreams program illustrates effects of drunk driving

Shattered Dreams program illustrates effects of drunk driving
May 15
11:57 2023

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

On the afternoon of Monday, May 8, the scene in front of Breckenridge High School looked like a major and tragic accident had happened there. Two wrecked cars were in the roadway, and several students were laying on the ground and in the cars. As emergency vehicles rushed to the intersection of West Lindsey and North Miller, crowds of students gathered on the sidewalk. It was all a part of the “Shattered Dreams” program organized by the Breckenridge Police Department.

The wrecked cars, which had been placed in the intersection by CD Wrecker Service, had the windshields removed so that the students playing the parts of the dead and injured weren’t really injured. The blood was fake.

Breckenridge firefighters work to rescue “injured” students from a wrecked car during Shattered Dreams, a drunk driving simulation, on Monday, May 8. The event was an educational and training event; no one was actually injured. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

But, the somberness of the situation was real. Texas is in the top five states with the most drunk drivers, according to the U.S. DUI Report, released earlier this month by the Zutobi Drivers Ed company.

The Texas Department of Transportation reports that one person in Texas dies every 7 hours and 43 minutes in a DUI-alcohol (driving under the influence) related traffic crash. In 2021, 1,134 people in Texas were killed and 2,565 seriously injured because someone chose to get behind the wheel while impaired.

The local Shattered Dreams program had two purposes, according to organizer Breckenridge Police Sgt. Noah Gray — to illustrate to the students the consequences of drunk driving and to provide training for first responders. The BPD, Breckenridge Fire Department, Sacred Cross Emergency Services, the justice of the peace and Melton Kitchens Funeral Home and Morehart Mortuary, as well as CD Wrecker Service, were involved in the event. Click here to see more photos from the event.

As the crowd watched last Monday, several scenes took place at once. Police officers, firefighters and EMTs tended to the “injured” and rescued those “trapped” in the wrecked vehicles. At the same time, Gray gave the “drunk driver” a sobriety test and then arrested her and placed her in the patrol vehicle. Additionally, a group of “The Walking Dead,” representing people killed by drunk drivers, hovered at the edge of the scene, while the Grim Reaper roamed around the cars, waiting to claim new victims.

As a couple of the victims were declared “dead,” Gray covered them up with white sheets, and eventually they were officially pronounced dead by JP Steve Spoon and loaded into the hearses.

In order to make the Shattered Dreams event as realistic as possible, Justice of the Peace Steve Spoon was on hand to pronounce some of the victims dead, and the local funeral homes arrived to take the “deceased” away in hearses. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The “injured,” including one with an amputated arm, were taken to the ambulance waiting nearby. (An air ambulance helicopter that was scheduled to participate had to cancel at the last minute when they had to respond to a real emergency.)

The following day, the BHS students attended an assembly about the event. The assembly was organized as a memorial and tribute to the students who “died” during the drunk driving accident simulated in the Shattered Dreams program.

“The loss of life on our highways is tragic.” TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams said in a news release earlier this year. “It is all the more tragic to know that the vast majority of these lives lost could be prevented. … There are severe and deadly consequences to drunk driving, and we don’t want to see lives and futures destroyed.”

In addition to the potential loss of lives, drunk driving also has possible financial consequences, as does possession of alcohol.

If you’re a minor (under 21) and found to be in possession of alcohol, you may face the following penalties:

  • Up to a $500 fine
  • A 30-180 day driver license suspension
  • 8 to 40 hours of community service
  • Mandatory alcohol-awareness classes

Any amount of beer, wine, or liquor can trigger these penalties. A second or third offense can lead to suspension of your driver license for 60 to 180 days.

If you are under 21, it is illegal for you to drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in your system. The first time you are stopped for drinking and driving, you could face the following penalties:

  • Up to a $500 fine
  • A 60-day driver license suspension
  • 20 to 40 hours of community service
  • Mandatory alcohol-awareness classes

If you’re 17 or older and are pulled over for drinking and driving with a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 or greater, you could face:

  • Up to a $2,000 fine
  • Three to 180 days in jail
  • A driver’s license suspension for 90 days to a year

The penalties increase for additional offenses.

And, the penalties can apply to others, as well. Furnishing alcohol to someone under 21 can lead to a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail. Selling alcohol to a minor is a Class A misdemeanor, which can bring a $4,000 fine and a year in jail.

A parent, legal guardian, or spouse can provide alcohol to their child or spouse as long as they are present when the minor possesses or consumes it. However, TxDOT urges parents to “be a good example: don’t drink and drive. Remind your children to call you if they’re ever in an uncomfortable situation. Teach them never to get in a car with someone who’s been drinking.”

To see more photos from the Breckenridge Shattered Dreams program, click here for the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery.

Breckenridge Police Sgt. Noah Gray places a white sheet over one of the students who was pronounced “dead,” as the Grim Reaper hovers nearby during the Shattered Dreams drunk driving simulation event on May 8. The program was staged with students portraying victims and real emergency responders taking part as Breckenridge High School students look on. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The Grim Reaper and The Walking Dead, a group of students representing people killed by drunk drivers, were part of the Shattered Dreams program at Breckenridge High School on May 8. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: The scene in front of Breckenridge High School on May 8 was set to look like a tragic accident had taken place. Students portrayed the victims, as well as the drunk driver, while local police officers, firefighters, EMTs and others were on the scene to get training. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Editor’s Note: The Shattered Dreams program at Breckenridge High School was a simulated drunk driving accident organized by the Breckenridge Police Department. No students were actually drunk, injured, killed or arrested.




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