Students witness mock DUI tragedy | April 19, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - April 19, 2013

Students witness mock DUI tragedy

'Every 15 Minutes' staged to drive home the horrors

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

The aftermath of a horrific car crash, a dead principal, a badly injured student helicoptered away for treatment, and another arrested for drinking under the influence. That's what students at Amador Valley and Valley Christian high schools witnessed last Thursday morning at the "Every 15 Minutes" anti-DUI program taking place over two days.

The program, which was presented by the Pleasanton Unified School District and the Pleasanton Police Department for the 12th year, gets its name from the fact that every 15 minutes a person is killed in an alcohol- or drug-related collision in the United States.

Thursday morning's mock fatal traffic collision took place at 11 a.m. on Del Valle Parkway adjacent to Amador Valley. Before students arrived to watch, the crash scene was set up with the wounded and dead, and covered by tarps. Once the spectators were in place, the tarps were removed, and a stunned and respectful silence fell over the crowd.

The county coroner's office handled mock fatalities on the scene, while the victims were treated, then transported to hospitals by ground ambulance and by CALSTAR. Meanwhile, police officers investigated, arrested and booked the student "drunk driver."

Student participants continued their trip to the morgue or to the Police Department to be booked for "drunken driving." To add another dimension to the realism, the parents of many students (the "living dead") received mock death notifications.

At the end of the day, those students who participated in the staged accident as well as the "living dead" were transported to a local facility for an overnight student retreat to simulate the separation from friends and family.

On the second day of the event, students assembled to view a video of the crash scene, share feelings and reactions, and listen to speakers with true stories of drunken driving tragedies.

The program alternates each year between Amador and Foothill high schools with juniors and seniors attending, so it reaches each student in the school district.


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