POINT PLEASANT — When one hears of a car crash, it’s not often they get to examine the destroyed car up close and personal.
On Thursday afternoon, students from Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School (PPJSHS) who are planning on attending their prom tonight had the opportunity to view the car in which classmate Andrea Bailes was riding in when it was hit by a drunk driver. On November 18, 2011, Bailes was riding with Paul Sheets and his daughter, Sammy, when Steve Stover, a drunk driver with a history of DUI offenses, hit them in a head-on collision. The Corolla that Sheets was driving that night was on display in front of the school to remind students of what could be the result of drinking and driving.
In addition to the mock crash, students also attended an assembly similar in style to a previous assembly held last month at PPJSHS to remember and honor Bailes. At the assembly, Bailes’ close friends Katherine Deem, Jessica McCoy, and Alexis Meadows, again spoke about Bailes and her life. The students again demonstrated how alcohol impairs ones vision and reflexes while four students, two who were normal drivers and two who wore “drunk” goggles, attempted to carry eggs on wooden spoons and tossed a kickball back and forth. Once again, the “drunk” students struggled to accomplish these simple tasks, dropping their eggs and kicking the ball sideways, even missing it a few times.
“Their vision, their reflexes, were obviously impaired,” one of the students said.
Sheets was also present at the assembly and spoke to the students about what happened the night of November 18, 2011, and what he remembered about Bailes. He said he had just gotten the Corolla back from the body shop that morning, from where he had previously hit a deer and that night, he, his daughter, and Bailes were traveling to Pullman Sqaure in Huntington to see the new Twilight movie. They stopped by a McDonald’s on their way home, and both girls were still talking about how great the movie was. Sheets said one of the last things he remembers is the girls saying that this night was the best night of their lives.
“Whatever you do, don’t drink and drive,” Sheets said to the students. He went on to say this message doesn’t just apply to the prom season, but all year long.
PPJSHS Principal William Cottrill also addressed the students and recognized the three girls who spoke about Bailes, stating how courageous they were. Cottrill went on to discuss a beer commercial with the students and how those scenes only show the “good” times, but nothing bad that could possibly happen.
“They don’t tell you about the lives lost from drinking and driving,” Cottrill said. “I hope today you get a piece of reality.”