“Every fifteen minutes,” the voice ominously boomed over the loudspeaker. Some students giggled, others rolled their eyes (“How pointless,” they huffed.), but the announcement planted a seed in my brain. Every fifteen minutes, a fatal car crash occurs, and the Every Fifteen Minutes Program not only raises an important awareness of, as new drivers, how cautious we have to be on the road, but brought it home for me that such a tragedy is real; a car accident could involve someone I care about, right on Taft. It’s crucial that we are constantly reminded of events- like the collision acted out in front of our school- as more than a mere concept, but a definite possibility. It is the responsibility of drivers of all ages to do all in their power to prevent such catastrophes. Thanks to dedicated programs such as Every Fifteen Minutes, Villa Park Spartans now have the necessary experience needed to deal with a chaotic, life-threatening situation that is very much a potentiality.
Being apart of the Every 15 minutes team what quite an experience. We all arrived early in the morning to prepare for the day. The room buzzed with energy but also slight anxiety for no one knew exactly what to expect. The laughter ceased though as the Knott’s Berry Farm makeup artists came into the room and got to work. They transformed Billie Cadero and Conner Hein into horrifying creatures who seemed to have forgotten part of their faces at home. The man carefully painted bruises on my head and scrapes on my knuckles. Seeing my “injuries” caused me to feel as though I were in pain. At 11:00 we all went out to the accident scene. I got into place as the driver of the sober car. Getting into character, I could feel fear and pain in the pit of my stomach as if an actual accident had occurred. As soon as Gracie made the mock 911 call, the firemen were zooming down the street. They rushed to me, asking me several questions. They then loaded me onto a gurney and drove me down the street. During the 2 minute long ride, the neck brace only allowed me to stare at the ceiling of the ambulance. I used that time to reflect. To think about how possible this scenario really is. Once the accident scene ended, everyone loaded into the bus and we took of to the Santa Ana court house. There, the judge shared stories with us about perfectly average kids who came to a devastating end due to the deadly combo of drugs and driving. We then headed to the mortuary where we received a tour of where our lifeless bodies would be brought, had we actually passed on. I believe that the mortuary is where the realness of the situation hit everyone. At that point most of the group got teary eyed. After the tour, we waited for the bus in the cemetery. Everyone was completely silent as we looked upon the gravestone of a 14 year old boy. The next day, everyone prepared themselves for the mock funeral to no avail. After the parents of Billie and Connor spoke, tears resided in the eyes of most audience members. Our only hope is that the students of Villa Park will realize the seriousness and realness of the possibility of drunk driving accidents affecting themselves.