Walton County law enforcement agencies stage fatal mock D.U.I. for students

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DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WMBB)–Law enforcement agencies from across Walton County gathered at Walton High on Friday to educate students on the dangers of drunk driving.

“We know what happens. I think that they truly don’t understand unless they’ve been in an accident or have been affected by it,” said Sarah Earley a Lt. Firefighter and Paramedic with Walton County Fire Rescue.

The law enforcement agencies worked together to stage a mock D.U.I. crash involving two student actors.

“They literally crash into a pole, and the driver is taken away in handcuffs, and the passenger, they extricate her out of the vehicle,” Lt. Earley said.

Students watched as their classmate died in the mock crash. A tragic event that happened to be a reality for Renee Napier of Pensacola.

“I had to bury my daughter back in 2002 because of a drunk driver killing her and her friend,” Napier said.

Napier was invited to speak before students. She not only shared her story but opened their eyes.

“Mainly we just want to talk to them about the choices that they’re making and encourage them to make the right choice,” Napier said.

With Napier was Eric Smallridge, the drunk driver responsible for her daughter’s death. Napier explained to students that in order to heal, she had to forgive Smallridge. Since 2002, Napier and Smallridge have traveled to high schools together to educate students. Each individual offering a different perspective on the horrific consequences of drunk driving.

“These choices are life and death situations, drinking and driving, texting and driving, unnecessarily take lives every single day,” said Smallridge.

As we move into spring break and prom season, students who may be drinking are encouraged to not drink and drive. It could save a life.

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