A DUI simulation took place at Bellevue High School on Tuesday. The fake accident resulted in two fatalities, multiple serious injuries and one arrest. Raechel Dawson/staff photo

A DUI simulation took place at Bellevue High School on Tuesday. The fake accident resulted in two fatalities, multiple serious injuries and one arrest. Raechel Dawson/staff photo

Simulation teaches Bellevue students dangers of drunk driving

10,500 around the country die in impaired driving accidents each year.

Smoke billowed out from two wrecked cars.

Teens began screaming in agony at the sight of hurt friends, some of them in pain themselves. Sirens soon blared from police vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances as they rushed to the scene. A Bellevue police officer, first on scene, started CPR on a victim of the fatal car accident.

Two would later be pronounced deceased with multiple critical injuries and one DUI arrest.

But the tragedy wasn’t as it seemed.

It was Bellevue High School’s DUI simulation, played out in the staff parking lot with the entire school watching as a the event was narrated.

“We’ve been practicing for a few weeks now and even though I knew everything that was going to come, and knew what we were going to do and how everything was going to go down, I couldn’t help but freak out and just imagine, ‘This is what would really happen,’” Kathryn Roberts, a student actress in the mock DUI, said. “So, even though I knew everything that was going to happen, I was genuinely emotional, genuinely sad and scared even though we were supposed to be acting.”

Student actor Isaiah Ifanse agreed.

“Seeing some of your close friends being put in that situation makes you just…it feels real,” he said.

Local Bellevue high schools have put on DUI simulations to show students the dangers of drinking and driving for quite some time, or at least as long as since Bellevue firefighter Marcus Howle, 42, attended high school at Newport.

“I actually did this when I was a senior in high school,” Howle recalled. “I was the person who was ejected and found dead on the hood.”

Howle said he knew he wanted to be a firefighter before participating in the simulation, but the event certainly helped cement that desire.

Although Howle has had to respond to horrifying scenes such as the one in the DUI simulation, he said he tries to get past the emotions because “the only way to help anybody is to just go to work.”

“It does make you pause, but you have to have the ability to look past it,” he said.

According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, the number of fatalities involving impaired drivers (adult or otherwise) has increased about nine percent from 2013-17 and injuries have risen by three percent for all of Washington state. During this same time period, the population for Washington state also rose about seven percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

General traffic fatalities in Washington state for youth ages 16-25 has increased significantly, however. The commission reports a 36 percent increase for the same five-year cohort with a 13 percent increase in serious injuries.

Mother’s Against Drunk Driving, a national organization dedicated to reducing drunk driving, reports 300,000 alcohol-related incidents every day with 10,500 deaths a year.

“You want to tell kids not to drink, but the reality is they’re gonna,” Howle said. “I would tell them if that’s the choice you’re going to make, think about the consequences of your actions. You’re not invincible.”

ASB student Jacqueline Niles and actress in the DUI simulation said she thinks having the mock car accident at high schools is important because she doesn’t think people “really realize the extent of how gruesome it really is and how it would truly feel to see one of your best friends dead on the front of a car.”

“I think having the whole school witness it with realistic cars and everything, it kind of makes an emotional attachment,” she said. “I think people can connect, ‘Oh, I shouldn’t do this because I remembered this. This is what can happen.’”

For more information, statistics and prevention measures on drunk or drugged driving, visit www.madd.org.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Washington scrambles to boost supply of life-saving protective items for healthcare workers

State officials say they had to be “creative” to obtain protective equipment in global demand.

Gov. Jay Inslee discusses the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s response during a press conference on Thursday, March 26. Screenshot
Inslee: Stay-at-home orders must continue to completely eliminate COVID-19

Slight decrease in rate of new coronavirus cases, but residents must continue to hunker down.

At St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw, a patient is taken from an ambulance through a small door marked “decontamination” on March 23. It was unclear whether the patient was suspected of being infected with COVID-19. (Photo by Ray Miller-Still/Sound Publishing)
King County releases breakdown data of COVID-19 cases, deaths

Washington’s virus-related death toll surpasses 129 as of Wednesday, March 25.

Former Kent pro soccer team owner to face Kirkland rape charge

Dion Earl extradited from Arizona while doing time for sexual assault

Entrance to the Tukwila Library branch of the King County Library System on March 17. KCLS announced March 13 that it would be closed until April at earliest in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Mitchell Atencio/staff photo
KCLS pivots to digital during coronavirus pandemic

KCLS is dedicating more time and content to digital services while unable to open its physical locations.


Police Captain assaulted after attempting to arrest hit-and-run suspect.

BPD arrests man on Washington’s Most Wanted

Daniel Alvarez has a history of eluding law enforcement.

King County suspends work release program

Effort taken to reduce jail population for safety of everyone during COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read