Kyle Adams, Shawn Diebold, Carlye McGaughey, Nikki Hamilton, Kayla Poole, Daryl, Madison and Autumn McClellan volunteered to be the victims in a two-car accident staged in front of the school.
The results were five injured students, two dead kids and one arrest for driving under the influence. Students lined the bleachers around the area watching as emergency responders from all over the county rushed in to aid the victims.
For more than 40 minutes, students watched wide-eyed as responders from Operation Life; Roachdale's PMH; Roachdale, Bainbridge, Russellville and Floyd Township volunteer fire departments, the Indiana State Police, Bainbridge and Roachdale marshals, Lifeline Air Rescue; and the Putnam County Sheriff's Department all worked to remove the tops of cars, aid victims and bag the ones who didn't make it.
One of the last acts of the responders during the mock disaster was to place the two fatalities in body bags and into a hearse.
Following the training session, students entered the gymnasium where they heard from Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter, County Coroner Thomas Miller and former North Putnam student Corey Dean.
Fire Chief Mike Poole asked the students who played victims to describe their experience.
"It was kind of weird. It could happen, you know. You should definitely wear your seatbelt," said Kyle Adams, who played a fatality that went through the windshield of the car and was dead when responders arrived on scene.
Nikki Hamilton played a backseat passenger in one of the cars.
"It was weird seeing all your friends around you when you are in an accident. It made me think it could really happen," she said.
"The handcuffs were not a good feeling," he told students.
Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter told students what they had just witnessed was not the end. He went on to tell them about having to deal with parents of victims and other family members as well as anyone arrested.
"When there is a dead body and alcohol or drugs are involved, somebody is going to jail," he said. "It doesn't matter if you are 18 or president of your class -- you are going to jail."
He noted that any car made after 1999 had a black box in it that can determine the speed of a vehicle in a crash.
He also commented that 99 percent of the time the driver of the car lives and the passengers die.
Bookwalter began his slide show of Putnam County fatalities. As his slides changed, gentle sobs could be heard from those sitting in the bleachers watching. A few students had to leave the program.
He described what the "death rattle" sounds like. He told stories about parents and family members and their attempts to deal with tragedies.
"Statistically, every year I know we're going to have at least two deaths in Putnam County from these kinds of accidents. Last weekend, we tragically saw one in Cloverdale," said Bookwalter. "It's been more than four years since we had a serious accident around prom time. We're due."
"Be smart and be careful. Do it so you are safe so we don't have one of these situations," he concluded.
Roachdale Fire Chief Mike Poole then introduced someone most of the students already knew -- former North Putnam student Corey Dean.
While a student at North Putnam in December 2007, 16-year-old Dean and his fellow teammate and best friend Zach Hedrick, 18, were on their way to board a bus for the county basketball tourney around 2:45 p.m. Their vehicle hit a sheet of black ice not far from the school on CR 800 North. They were not speeding and were not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Dean's vehicle went off the road and flipped several times. When it stopped, the top was caved in. Dean's head hit the windshield and he was thrown out of the vehicle through his side window. He had a collapsed lung and other traumatic injuries that landed him in critical care for 15 days at Methodist Hospital followed by six more days in St. Vincent's.
Passersby stopped at the scene and were assisting both boys when emergency personnel arrived. Dean was taken to Hendricks Community Health and was later airlifted to Methodist.
"I couldn't tell you a single thing they did in all that time," said Dean. "I had to relearn everything, how to walk, how to talk, how to write my name. I still have memory problems."
He talked about having thoughts of suicide and about the effect his accident had on his family and his best friend.
"My mom wrote a daily journal of my day-by-day progress and I cannot read it without losing it," he told students. "I can't believe what they went through. My sister thought she was going to have to bury her little brother."
"Without my dad, Mike Poole and people like them, I wouldn't' be here. Zach sat by my bed day after day and told my parents it should have been him. This wreck really changed my life," he said. "Tomorrow is not a sure thing."
One of the things emphasized by everyone speaking at the assembly was to wear a seatbelt. Dean did not have on his seatbelt the day of his accident.
"I hope you guys take something from this because, take it from me, you don't want to live it," concluded Dean.
County Coroner Thomas Miller took the stage next and told kids, "It doesn't get any more real than that. What you heard from Mr. Dean is real. That is real life."
Miller went on to tell kids more statistics. Sixty percent of all drivers before the age of 18 are involved in an accident. Then he had students who had drivers licenses stand up.
"If you've had an accident remain standing, the rest of you sit down," he said. A large number of students remained standing.
Zach Bowers, manager at Operation Life, coordinated the mock disaster. Every year around prom time, emergency personnel volunteer their time to present a mock disaster to try to influence kids not be drive under any influences, to wear their seatbelts and to stay safe.
"Prom night could be the best night of your life or it could be the worst night of you life. Think," said Miller.