Every 15 Minutes: 2018

Siena Chacon (9), Sydney Segrell (9), Mathias Kristenson (11), and Kaleigh Santmyer (12) watch as their peers are involved in a devastating mock car crash revealing the harsh realities of drunk driving. Siena Chacon witnesses her sister, Sophia Chacon (12), be taken from the crash site in an ambulance to later die in the hospital.

Kate Finman, News Editor

In order to raise awareness of the devastating consequences of drinking and driving, SJHHS brought back the Every 15 Minutes program to campus last week.

Every 15 Minutes is a two-day state-funded staging of a realistic and graphic mock car crash, emergency medical treatment, as well as a police booking scene.

The event gets its name from the assumption that approximately every fifteen minutes someone is either injured or killed in an alcohol-related car accident. Many of these victims are teenagers who, by stepping behind the wheel under the influence, shatter their own lives and leave loved ones to pick up the pieces.

On Tuesday, juniors and seniors gathered around a realistic two-car collision involving their peers either killed on impact, gruesomely injured, or hysterically trying to cope with the loss of loved ones. One of the cars was flipped over, and Darius Jackson and Trent Wood died immediately on the scene.

The storyline continued through a video presentation, following the survivors of the accident to their tragic ending in the emergency room or prison. The video was made by the students of ASB, who stayed up all night to finish the project in time.

In addition to those directly involved in the mock DUI scene, a diverse cast of twenty eight upperclassmen “died” during the school day, along with Cambria Beilstein, the drama teacher. A 7-foot tall man dressed as the Grim Reaper claimed selected students every fifteen minutes, as the sound of a failing heart monitor played over the P.A. system. An obituary written by the parents of the victim was read to the class by the police officer. Those who “died” were not seen or heard from until after the ceremony the following day, so friends and family actually could feel the impact of their death.

The event closed with an emotionally charged assembly on the second day where guest speaker, Bobby Petrocelli whose wife died after an intoxicated driver crashed into their house, shared her story with the audience of juniors and seniors. The “deceased”were then reunited with family members to read their last words.

50 juniors and seniors were nominated by teachers to participate in this event and were narrowed down to the final count of 28. This selective process seeks to find a range of personalities and social circles so that everyone in the audience can identify with at least one of the crash victims.

All of this was designed to convince teenagers that drinking and driving is never worth endangering your own life or that of your friends: there is always a deadly cost.

The next Every 15 Minutes program at SJHHS is planned for 2020.