Photo Gallery Remembering Every 15 Minutes

On the way to prom, the mock drunk driver, Gavin Blackwell (12) collides with another car causing a serious crash. Laying on the hood of the car, Taylor Doanes’ (11) lifeless body was covered with stage blood after being ejected through the passenger seat windshield.

Sofia Bello, Photo Editor

A 1990’s statistic said that every 15 minutes someone in the U.S. dies in an alcohol related car collision. That number has changed slightly over time with fewer fatalities. Maybe now it’s one every 17 minutes, according to Activities Director Brooke Valderrama. But the severity of the situation remains.

Every 15 Minutes is a two-day program that teaches teens the dangers of drinking and driving. It stages an emotionally-charged DUI crash on prom night in the SJHHS parking lot, assisted by real firefighters, police, and emergency personnel. Juniors and seniors on campus were cast as the onlookers, drivers, injured, and dead.

On day one of the event, a “Grim Reaper” visited various classes on campus, pulling out one student every 15 minutes as a slowing heartbeat and flatline played over the PA. These students, along with a teacher, were called “The Living Dead.” After being removed from their classes, the living dead had zero contact with any “living” friends and family. They spent the night at a hotel to simulate the feeling of death.

On day two, the upperclassmen and the “Living Dead” gathered in the gym for an assembly, where ASB showcased video footage of a party scene that took place before the crash, the collision itself, and the aftermath at a jail and hospital. Guest speaker Bobby Petrocelli spoke at the assembly, sharing his experience on the subject. 37 years ago, a drunk driver crashed into his home, killing his wife. After, one “Living Dead” student and one parent shared their thoughts and obituaries, the “deceased” were reunited with their family members, after the assembly — a privilege that doesn’t exist in reality.