Every Fifteen Minutes, Someone Dies

By: Auburn Hutton
By: Auburn Hutton

Sparks High School students learned what it would be like to lose a classmate today. There was a simulated drunk driving wreck, part of a program called "Every Fifteen Minutes," named after the amount of time in between every alcohol and driving-related fatality.

The car wreck left three students injured and one dead. Not a real crash, but a graphic simulation meant to teach Sparks' teens a grim lesson.

"This is a national program, 'Every Fifteen Minutes.' It's as realistic as possible without actually having a death with a student," said Roy O'Connell of Sparks High.

As students looked on, they watched their classmates and friends suffer as a result of another teens' actions.

"I didn't think it would impact me as much as it did. It was real. We all knew everyone that was out there. It was harder to deal with than I thought it was going to be," said Junior Shelby Swanson.

"Yeah I knew all of them. It was sad. I almost cried. It was hard to see them taken away and Alex crying," said Emily Uhlmeyer, also a Junior.

One was taken to the morgue, another to jail. She was charged with a felony for drunk and reckless driving.

"It's not the people you'd expect. It's the people that are involved in our school and play sports and care about their future. They don't realize things can be taken away so fast," said Uhlmeyer.

While police finished cleaning up the scene, students headed back to class with a new outlook on drinking and getting behind the wheel.

When asked if her classmates drink and drive, Swanson replied honestly: "A lot of kids do and after seeing this I hope they know not to. I wouldn't want to see this happen to people close to me."

''Every Fifteen Minutes' organizers say even if the mock crash keeps one student from getting behind the wheel after they've had a drink...then at least they know it will have helped save lives.


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