HGH EMS, Lowry High Partner to Present Anti-Alcohol Program

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 County.”

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.”