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Simulation Shows Reality of Drinking and Driving

'Every 15 Minutes' program demonstrates alcohol's consequences when behind the wheel.

Every 15 minutes there is an alcohol-related fatality in the United States. students on Thursday witnessed what an accident scene looks like from just a few feet away.

A coordinated effort of fire, police and EMS personnel, along with students and school administrators, portrayed the reality of a car accident in dramatic fashion. Students who pretended to have serious injuries were placed in wrecked vehicles. The program, in its second year, took the students through what it would be like at a real accident scene.

"The focus here was on drinking and driving, said Ryan Buckley, of Hillsborough Volunteer Fire Co. No. 2. "And now they are incorporating texting and cell phone use while driving. We are trying to make this an every year thing. Last year, it was timed perfectly. There were only two days that the program could occur. The accident was Thursday and the memorial service was the morning of the prom."

The driver of the vehicle was given a sobriety test and arrested while the body of a passenger was removed from the vehicle and pronounced dead. Other passengers were removed from the vehicle with the "Jaws of Life" and taken by ambulance and medical helicopter for treatment while the "Grim Reaper" walked silently around the scene.

"It was as bad being the driver's parent as the victim's parent. It was horrific and there is no closure for anything like this," said Mary Von Nessen, mother of the "drunk driver," John Von Nessen. "This is a wonderful program."

The program continued from the high school with driver John Von Nessen being arraigned while being represented by an attorney before a judge. A memorial service will be held Friday for the two students who "died" in the crash.

"This is a program that is a year-long project," Buckley said.

Curt Carnes April 20, 2012 at 11:15 AM
This is an Excellent program. Thanks to all who volunteered and worked so hard to make it happen!
SF April 20, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Amazing program - very powerful and hopefully one that will continue year after year.
Patti Buckle April 20, 2012 at 05:00 PM
The videos should be shown during Junior and Senior gym periods. It should also be mandatory that kids taking drivers ed sit in on a court session where people are being sentenced for driving under the influence or driving while texting. This was very well done and certainly gave all involved a huge burst of "what could happen" to anyone! Hopefully the feeling will remain thru prom weekend and then some! Thanks to all who brought this program to our school!
Carol April 21, 2012 at 01:50 AM
I wish my high school did this. I hope it sticks in all the kids minds. Its sad there are some teens and adults who still drink and drive knowing the consequences.

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