Acadia Parish Sheriff Wayne Melancon welcomed those in attendance.
“I’d like to express my thanks to every agency...the coroner’s office, Acadian Ambulance, the Fire Departments and every local law enforcement agency that was involved,” said Sheriff Melancon. “And as far as you students here you’re participation made this film possible.”
Those in attendance were then served a lunch buffet prior to the screening of the film. Due to the film’s reality and violence it was probably a good thing lunchh was served first.
“We have shown this film to every driving school and as many high schools as possible in Acadia Parish,” said Trahan, who has obviously developed a bond with the students involved in making the film. “Thanks to these students and all the participating parents who made this film, which will be a success even if it saves one life.”
Trahan then played the film which was filmed in front of Rayne High School and showed a shockingly violent accident. However, these are things that first responders see on a daily basis.
The scene involved two cars that were involved in a collision which seriously injured some of the students and killed two others. Acadia Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Lopez was shown trying to comfort one victim who was seriously injured as the paramedics worked the bloody scene.
Also involved in the film’s shooting were several grieving parents who, even though they knew it was only a film, shed tears when their child was placed into a body bag.
One student is shown being given a sobriety test which she failed and was subsequenttly placed in the back of a police car. The same student is shown later in the film getting some harsh words from Crowley City Judge M’elise Trahan.
“You have caused the deaths of two people as well as a lifetime of pain for these families,” said Judge Trahan. “Your choices will cost you for the rest of your life.”
Trahan sentenced the student to five years in jail to be followed by 10 years probation.
The film was very strong and had most of those in attendance sitting in stunned silence.
According to Trahan, another film will be shot next year, probably around March so that it may be timed wth the beginning of prom season. However, it will not just deal with drunk driving.
“Driving under the influence of drugs and distracted driving (texting for example) weren’t touched on in this film,” said Trahan. “We hope to emphasize those factors as well next year. We are asking for help with the fundng of next year’s film. and asking people to get on board.”
Trahan said that t-shirts will be sold by to help raise money. Ironically, Schilling Distributors in Lafayette is a big opponent of drinking while intoxicated and has money set aside for programs such as the CHOICES film. Trahan said that they may be working with them next year.
Trahan wanted to pay special recognition to a student from Lafayette, Alisabeth Rivers, who has been in an accident where a student was killed and ‘was the inspiration for the film.’
An emotional Rivers stood up to a tremendous round of applause.
Another student Trahan wished to recognize was Victor Filds-Meaux who obviously made some changes in his life while working on the film.
“This experience taught me the effect that making a single bad choice can have on a person’s life,” said Filds-Meaux. “Just watching the impact it had on people was like I got to experience it myself. I now understand how important it is to avoid bad choices.”