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      Menominee students witness consequences of drunk driving

      The Healthy Youth Coalition of Marinette and Menominee Counties hosted an eye-opening program Wednesday for Menominee juniors and seniors.

      It's called 'Every 15 Minutes,' and it signifies how often someone dies in an alcohol-related collision.

      When students gathered outside for the scenario, it looked like a crime scene. There were two fatalities: one person was found dead on arrival, and another victim died later at the hospital. But what made this crime different was that it was all staged.

      I think it's very critical, said Corporal Brian Helfert of the Menominee County Sheriff Department. We can sit up there and lecture to them all we want, but when they see a simulated crash scene, even though they know it's simulated, it brings out a lot of emotions."

      Eight students were pulled from class to represent someone who died in an alcohol-related crash. And this hit especially close to home for some of them.

      My older brother has had an alcohol problem, explains senior Holly Laperriere. So that's why I was kind of glad I was picked. And I have a younger brother, too. He TMs a sophomore here. So hopefully I can influence my little brother.

      The vehicles used in the mock accident were donated from a Menominee auto body shop.

      Officials stressed that safe driving extends to not texting behind the wheel and not riding with someone who's been drinking.

      Lots of people at our school do drink, and I don't know if they all drive, but lots of people decide to drink underage. So I hope this kind of shakes them up and changes their mind about it, Laperriere said.

      Officials hope the staged event sticks with students, especially during the festivities of next weekend's Menominee versus Marinette football game.