Every 15 Minutes

Chloe Boxer and Phoebe Reiter

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Every 15 Minutes someone in the United States dies or is seriously injured in an alcohol-related incident.

The Every 15 Minutes program is a two-day program aimed at juniors and seniors at high schools across the country. It is an event dedicated to challenging students to consider the ramifications of drinking and driving. The program also addresses issues like drug abuse, texting while driving, and the necessity of mature choices in the everyday lives of teenagers.

On March 1st, 2018, Santiago High School students witnessed the disturbing realities of alcohol-related car crashes and were forced to imagine some of their closest friends actually dying. At 8 a.m. on Thursday, a voice over the intercom regrettably informed the entire Santiago High School population that one of their peers was hypothetically involved in an alcohol-related incident and was dead. Those who had theoretically died were taken out of their classes by a Grim Reaper and a candle and obituary were placed on their desks. This went on for the next two and a half hours until all upperclassmen were instructed to walk to Rimpau Avenue where a horrific car crash had been simulated.

Students were faced with the disturbing scene of a head-on collision between two cars driven by students, Katie Wong and Sage Sullivan. Brice Turang was laying on the hood of the car and his bloody body was hanging through the windshield. There was a soft whimpering coming from the car driven by the sober teenager. Sage Sullivan was weeping because her brother, Matthew Sullivan, was barely responsive in the passenger seat of her vehicle. Just beside Sage’s car was a police car and the intoxicated driver. A police officer was conducting a sobriety test on Katie Wong as the other officers surveyed the scene and as emergency personnel arrived and evaluated the victims.

Five people were in the car driven by Sage Sullivan and one of them was dead in the trunk. Four people were in the car driven by Katie Wong and one of them was dead in the passenger seat. Brice Turang – the only sober person in the car – had not been wearing his seatbelt when the car crash occurred because he was attempting to get the drunk driver and her passenger to put on their own and stop driving. He was pulled from the wreckage and evaluated on the floor beside the covered body of Victoria Mas and eventually an ambulance took him to the football field for a medical evacuation in a helicopter. Firetrucks were also on the scene and firemen were cutting the cars apart to reach the victims. Matthew Sullivan was transported to Corona Regional Hospital where he died with his sister and parents by his side. Katie Wong was arrested and taken to Corona jail. Luis Delgado was dragged from the scene and was pronounced dead. Four students – four precious lives – were killed because of drinking and driving.  Twenty-four hours later, students were summoned to the gym for a mock funeral for the four victims who died in the previous day’s tragedy. Two caskets – for Luis Delgado and Matthew Sullivan – were rolled to the center of the gym and the students fell utterly silent. Two urns – for Victoria Mas and Tyler De Leeuw – were carried into the gym and the students began to cry. The parents of the deceased were in the center of the gym as Principal Seth Bond explained the tragedy that had befallen the school. A video depicting the events that led up to the crash, along with the crash itself, further ingrained the consequences of drinking and driving into the minds of the students. Through the gym doors, nineteen students who had participated in the program entered. A guest speaker, Annie Hanson, spoke of her time as a student at Santiago High School and of her experience being involved in an alcohol-related car crash while being a student at the school. Letters were then read by both students and parents saying goodbye. Dr. Kim Lawe, the ERHS STEM

Director, recalled the night that she and her husband’s lives were changed forever because of a drunk driver on the freeway.

As students left the funeral, the song “Imagine” by John Lennon could be heard by all. Imagine all the people who are no longer because of drinking and driving. Do not be one of them.

Thank you to the nineteen students who were involved in the Every 15 Minutes program at Santiago High School –

  1. Stella Bennett
  2. Nathaniel (Nano) Castillo
  3. Michael Cloke
  4. Tyler De Leeuw
  5. Luis Delgado
  6. Cayla Etheridge
  7. Phelan Flynn
  8. Sandra Galvez
  9. Brayden Kendall
  10. Jarrett Korson
  11. Victoria Mas
  12. Marcos Milla
  13. Darnay Smith
  14. Matthew Sullivan
  15. Sage Sullivan
  16. Ryan Troutman
  17. Brice Turang
  18. Izzi Volonte
  19. Katie Wong
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About the Writers
Chloe Boxer, Editor in Chief
Chloe Boxer (12) is an aspiring political journalist who loves to express her opinions on the topics she is most passionate about – from politics to baseball to crime. This is her second year working for the school newspaper and she is thrilled to be Editor in Chief her senior year! She often escapes into...
Phoebe Reiter, News Editor
Phoebe Reiter (12) is a senior who is fascinated in writing about the world around her- whether it be what’s happening at school or in the world. Outside of school, she is both a girl scout and a soccer player- and an avid dog lover. Journalism interests her simply due to the fact that she...
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Every 15 Minutes