FOREST LAKE, Minn. — To lose someone you love is devastating. For many, understanding loss due to tragedy can be hard to comprehend and hard to believe it can happen to any of us at any given time.

Which is why Forest Lake High School decided to host a mock car crash every three years to show their students just how dangerous bad decisions behind the wheel can be.

“If it saves one life it's totally worth it,” said Forest Lake High School Principal, Jim Caldwell.

Students at Forest Lake watch their classmates involved in mock car crash play out before their eyes. A scene where a high school student, drunk and distracted behind the wheel, causes a crash killing one of his classmates.
A scene that plays out all too often in reality.

“I always talk about homecoming, prom, and graduation week,” said Principal Caldwell. “Those are the three most stressful weeks of the year for a principal around here, around students safety and destructive decisions.”

Forest Lake Senior, Jack Lubdtke, who helped organize this year’s mock crash agrees.

“There’s a problem in general,” Lubdtke said. “Forest Lake has students that text and drive, drink and drive like anywhere else, but we would really like to focus on how we can stop that.”

The mock car crash takes years of planning in cooperation with local authorities, even parents of the student actors involved, getting a real glimpse into the scary "what if’s" that play out.

“It gets very emotional,” said Principal Caldwell. “The tears from parents, it hits home when all of a sudden a cop knocks on your door. Even though its fake to say, ‘look, I’m sorry your son or daughter has been killed in an auto accident.’”

The student that was “killed” in the mock crash is then taken out of school for the day with no contact to their loved ones.

RELATED: #EyesUp: Keeping teen drivers safe in the summer

Forest Lake High School also hosts a mock funeral for their students to participate in the following day. The school hopes this serves as a reminder that their bad decisions come with real life consequences.

Forest Lake was one of our #eyesUP High School PSA Challenge winners and they used the money they won from our competition to help pay for the mock crash.