Every 15 minutes, someone dies as the result of an alcohol-related collision.
That was the focus behind a program at Lowry High School last month.
“Every 15 Minutes” is a two-day program which demonstrates
to high school students the impact drinking and driving has on themselves,
their families, friends and the community.
This year’s program was highlighted by a simulated traffic collision
near the high school involving an impaired teenage driver and two fatally
injured victims. Student Leticia Gomez played the part of the driver while
Garrett Naveran and Bryson Prokasky were the fatal victims; Meg Montero
and Megan Villareal also played the walking wounded.
Junior and senior students at the school braved the rain Tuesday, May 19,
in front of the school as the mock accident played out with emergency
services personnel, vehicles and even a medical helicopter.
That film, replete with scenes of a mock drinking party in Water Canyon,
was then shown to students during an assembly on Wednesday, May 20, to
show the succession of events that would eventually lead to the fatality.
The film also included scenes of Gomez “in jail” as well as
her “trial” in front of Sixth Judicial District Judge Mike Montero.
Earlier Tuesday, the program kicked off with a series of events and activities
aimed at replicating the emotional impact of drinking and driving.
The grim reaper was seen walking Lowry High School’s hallways, taking
kids out of class “every 15 minutes” to simulate how many
people die as a result of drunk driving. Those students eventually returned
to class under full moulage, although they were not allowed to speak to
their peers for the remainder of the day.
This is the second time that “Every 15 Minutes” has been presented
by Humboldt General Hospital Emergency Medical Services Rescue in partnership
with the Humboldt County School District.
The program is known nationwide for its impact on students. School officials
are hoping the same will prove true in Humboldt County.
HGH EMS Rescue Chief Pat Songer said the program requires a great deal
of work on the part of his team, but he believes it’s time well spent.
“Many of us have seen the impact this program has had in other communities,”
he said, “and we want the same level of awareness here in Humboldt
He added, “With the kinds of things we see during our calls, we are
intent on doing what we can to help our students understand that drinking
and driving do not go together.”