There are mangled bodies, severed limbs and gut-wrenching testimonies of driving-impaired teens who paid a terrible price.

The video is graphic, scary and repulsive. And that’s the point.

“These are Minnesota crashes involving Minnesota teens,” State Patrol Sgt. Jacalyn Sticha told the students prior to its showing.

“If you feel it is uncomfortable, even for a second, feel free to leave the room. It is kind of graphic, but it’s reality ... I’m here to save lives.”

Sticha appeared Friday at RiverBend Academy charter school in Mankato, the first of several scheduled video-showing appearances at area schools.

The new patrol video, a collection of still photos and videotaped interviews of teen crash survivors, operates on a “scared straight” premise — it’s sobering images intended to enter students’ brains and stay there.

But do they?

“It’s a piece, and a very valuable piece,” Sticha said of the patrol’s ongoing battle against teen drunken driving and aversion to seat-belt use.

But a video alone is of limited benefit, she said. It’s the ongoing “maintenance” that’s really important — the whole educative process involving teachers, parents and peers.

Sticha thinks that process has shown signs of success, particularly in the area of seat-belt use.

“The kids are starting to pay attention. This isn’t the same generation as it was 15 years ago.”

The video shown Friday riveted the students’ attention. No one left the room; no one made a sound for its duration.

The footage particularly resonated with senior Kirsten Loe and junior Chris Raygor, both of whom spoke of how seat belts saved the lives of family members.

“I think it needs to be graphic,” Loe said of the video, though she acknowledged its images and intent might be fleeting for some students.

Said Raygor, “I think it will always be in the back of their minds, but if they’re impaired, they may just forget about it. But for most people, I think it will stick.”

That’s all Sticha asks.

“When we go to schools, we’ve been accused of overdramatizing,” she said. “But these crashes are real. They’re awful.”

React to this story:

React to this story: