Program Warns Prom-Going Wentzville Teens about Drinking and Driving

With prom night and graduation celebrations just around the corner, Timberland High School juniors and seniors got a stern warning last week from Wentzville firefighters and police personnel.

“This is a scenario about some people who made some very bad choices,” Wentzville Fire District Battalion Chief Mike Scott told the students.

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The scenario started with a young man refusing a ride home from a party, saying that he’d “only had two beers.” When the stage curtain opened, students saw the same young man being interrogated, arrested and handcuffed by police while firefighters pulled his passenger from the wrecked car and covered her body with a tarp.

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Afterwards, Wentzville police officer Matt Schneider took questions from the group of juniors who saw the 7:30 a.m. presentation. One student asked about the field sobriety test, remarking that the young driver seemed to perform well on the walking and one-legged stand tests.

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Schneider responded that many people can manage to pass those tests, but that a trained officer can recognize intoxication by the involuntary jerking of a subject’s eyes. “Your eyes aren’t going to lie,” Schneider said.

He told the students that at their age and physical development, just one beer was enough to make them drunk. “I’m not here to be a killjoy about your prom,” he said, “My goal is to make sure you make it to graduation.”

The Wentzville Police Department and Wentzville Fire District have presented the program in local high schools for 15 years. A second presentation was scheduled Friday for Timberland seniors. Assemblies will be held for Holt High School students later this month.