CHESTERTOWN - Firefighters smashed axes through the windshield of a car in the North Warren parking lot, then peeled back the roof as easy as removing the lid off a tin can.
Students lay motionless, covered with mock blood inside the sedan and a truck - smashed together as if they had just collided.
Emergency medical responders swarmed around the accident "victims," blocking their necks and preparing their bodies for transport. Nearby, a male student portraying a drunk driver was questioned by a patrol officer of the Warren County Sheriff's office.
About 100 students sat nearby on a grassy slope, watching the responders go through 40 minutes of work on the victims. The scene was a reenactment of a DWI crash, meant to convey a message to the students that driving and alcohol don't mix.
North Warren junior Crystalee French, who watched the swarm of responders and her fellow students being carted off on stretchers, said she got that message loud and clear.
"This is crazy," she said. "If I didn't know it was fake, I'd be really upset right now."
NWCS Freshman Erika Parker agreed.
"It seems sad and tragic to imagine how upset their families would be when they didn't get home," she said. "I'd never drive a car drunk or get into a car with a driver who's been drinking."
North Warren Audrey Harpp of Horicon, was watching nearby. She's a third-generation firefighter, a junior member of the Horicon Volunteer Fire Department. Her father was working on the crash.
"This is really good for students to know what people have to go through after a crash," she said. "They're really witnessing the consequences of drunk driving."
The reenactment of a DWI crash offered substantial benefits for the emergency responders, fire and emergency medical officials on the scene said.
"This was a very valuable exercise," Chestertown Fire Chief Jack Crossman said. "Everyone worked well together today."
About 14 firefighters of the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Co. worked side-by-side in the drill with 11 of their counterparts of the Horicon Volunteer Fire Department.
North Warren Emergency Squad Captain Jason Paul said the re-enactment was useful.
"This was a realistic drill, and good practice for us to work with the firefighters," he said.
Freshman Johna Howland watched the action.
"This really gives people the impact of the dangers of drunk driving," she said, noting the school's prom is this Saturday.
She was dressed in black, like 10 other of her fellow high school students. They had written stories, retelling potential consequences of drinking in a personal, detailed way. Conveying these narratives, in an assembly to all students grades 7 through 12, were Johna, Maria Rambone, Selena Stalmer, Phil Davidson, Patty Smith, Jen Gapp, Kimiya Hart, Meghan Erickson, Laura Tennyson, Julia Bolton, and Leslie Bruce. Dennis Kruithoff portrayed the Grim Reaper, assisted by Cassie Maday. Their presentations were followed by documentaries of families torn apart by drunken-driving tragedies.
"Victims" of the North Warren accident were Chelsea Crossman, Cody Griffen, Jasmine Morehouse, Katelyn Morehouse, and Craig Smith, who was the "arrested" drunken driver.
Sheriff's Patrol Officer Robert Gould finished a mock arrest of Smith, grim-faced and soaked with bogus blood.
"For sure, I hope this is a reality check for the students," he said.
Horicon Assistant Chief seconded the point.
"I hope it has a great impact on everybody," he said. "Almost all of us have experienced an incident like this."