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  • SPecial SecTioNc5-c8PageS aPril 19,

    The NorTh STar



    choice is



  • The NorTh STarSPecial SecTioNc6


    2 3


    11 12

    13 14

    on the morning of April 10, north students

    saw a car crash that will cause them to question

    every choice they make in the future.

    the national Every 15 Minutes organization

    partnered with the California highway Patrol to

    stage a car accident demonstrating the effects that

    driving under the influence can bring.

    Seventeen seniors participated in the staged

    event which resulted in three deaths, two on scene

    and one in the ambulance.

    the remaining 11 participants were considered

    the living dead headed by the Grim reaper who

    was actually Skip Sher-

    walter, a policeman.

    Although the car

    crash was not real, it

    still left an impact on

    the senior class.

    immediately follow-

    ing the car crash, stu-

    dents who were

    involved with the pro-

    gram were taken on a

    tour to learn more about the different aspects that

    follow a dUi incident.

    the first stop was made at the riverside Su-

    perior Courthouse where Adrian hughes was tried

    for driving under the influence causing the deaths

    of omar Coria, Leopoldo Amaya and Jessica

    Munoz and leaving denzel foster paralyzed.

    the trial was open to the public. People of the

    Court included hughes aunt who was reduced to

    tears when the judge sentenced hughes to 16

    years in prison. the criminal was then taken to a

    waiting cell by the deputy.

    hughes himself was shaken as well. [Getting

    arrested] was scary. i felt like i was actually going

    to jail. When they slammed the cell it got real and

    i was about to cry. i felt like i was [actually] sen-

    tenced for those peoples deaths, he said.

    After leaving the court, students arrived at

    riverside Community hospital where they had

    the opportunity to tour the emergency room, sur-

    gical unit and the morgue.

    they were not only able to see the process that

    foster had to go through after being rescued from

    the accident by paramedics but also understand

    the role that the morgue plays.

    in this case, Munoz, who was pronounced dead in

    the ambulance, would have ended up in the


    if her body was not claimed from the hospital

    by a family member within two days, she would

    have been taken away by a riverside Coroner of-


    After seeing this Wahab Gondal said, Life is

    too short. You never know when obstacles will

    come your way. You never know when that wrong

    turn is. [We] should all be more careful and make

    better choices.

    dinner was served at the riverside downtown

    fire Station where students got to interact with

    local fire fighters and learn about their specific

    jobs in an accident such as the one that was staged

    at north.

    the event was divided into two days to in-

    crease the impact on the participants, their friends

    and even their parents.

    While students in the program were busy

    learning about the aftermath of a dUi accident,

    riverside police officers personally called or vis-

    ited each family to inform parents or guardians of

    their childs death.

    Although parents were informed beforehand

    that the event was entirely staged, they still had a

    difficult time accepting the news.

    Coria and Amayas parents specifically were

    required to be on scene immediately after the ac-

    cident occurred to identify their children.

    Captain of the riverside fire department John

    Peurfoy said, [in car accidents] you dont get a

    chance to say goodbye but you do get a chance to

    make a different choice.

    in order to make the event more realistic, stu-

    dents were required to leave all technological de-

    vices at home leaving them with no way to

    contact the outside world while

    staying at a hotel downtown


    Meanwhile, a dUi seminar

    was hosted by California highway

    Patrol Public information officer

    Steve Carapia and Police officer

    Karen havercamp in the hotels


    Carapia explained the various

    legal consequences impaired driv-

    ing can bring. Volunteers also got to test the

    breathilizer. the night ended with participants

    writing letters to their parents reflecting on the

    lessons they learned that day.

    the following morning a special assembly

    was held at north for seniors who had seen the

    accident the day before.

    Parents were invited to attend the assembly

    and finally had the chance to talk to their children.

    Students and parents volunteered to read their let-

    ters to the entire audience. the program ended

    with a luncheon where sponsors, supporters and

    participants were recognized.

    Peurfoy said, [this program has] the domino

    effect. Students see the scenario of the people who

    are killed drunk driving. then if theyre at a party

    on prom night and they see someone whos been

    drinking and driving, hopefully they remember

    this program because of what they saw here.

    Were saying think about the choices you make

    and the people that it affects. thats the impact.

    Students react to

    tragic realities after

    car crash

    You dont get a chance to

    say goodbye but you do

    get a chance to make a

    different choice.

    Captain John Peurfoy

    Scan this QR code to visit the

    official every 15 minutes website

    to learn more about the program

    and the impact it has on

    teenagers throughout the united

    states. find out how you can reg-

    ister with the organization to

    host an event at your school.

    Emily Chen


  • The NorTh STar Friday, aPril 19, 2013 c7




    7 8



    1. disguised as the Grim reaper, Skip Sherwalter leads the living dead students out to the ac-


    2. the members of the riverside fire department drill into the cars as the first step of the

    staged accident before student spectators come to the scene.

    3. the front window is shattered by a firefighter with a hammer to make the accident more re-


    4. Shortly after receiving a 911 call, members of the riverside Police department arrive on

    the scene to find injured and dead students.

    5. Leopoldo Amaya is covered by a body bag after being pronounced dead.

    6. omar Corias father is asked to identify his dead son.

    7. firemen place Jessica Munoz on a stretcher after removing her from the accident.

    8. Adrian hughes is arrested by a police officer after failing the sobriety test.

    9. After being removed from the accident, an injured Munoz is taken care of by paramedics

    from the riverside Community hospital.

    10. hughes is prosecuted in the riverside Superior Court and sentenced to16 years in prison.

    11. Students visit the riverside Community hospitals morgue to understand how dead bodies

    are preserved.

    12. in the dUi seminar, Juan Andrade takes the breathilizer test given by California highway

    Patrol officer Steve Carapia and Police officer Karen havercamp to demonstrate how a per-

    sons alcohol level is determined.

    13. rashaya Stanfield writes a letter to her parents at the end of the day.

    14. Alexis Alfaros parents read their letter to their dead daughter for the entire senior class,

    drawing tears from students and teachers alike.

    15. Amanda Valdez and her mother are all smiles as they attend the thank you luncheon know-

    ing that the unfortunate events from the previous day are educational but luckily, staged.

    Photos by Emily Chen

  • The NorTh STar Friday, aPril 19, 2013SPecial SecTioNc8

    In the Back Seat: A

    Students Perspective

    When senior Mina Jackson left for

    school the morning of April 10 she

    knew it wasnt going to be a typical

    day. the scheduled Every 15 Min-

    utes program had been planned for

    months in advance and she knew what

    she was going to have to do.

    After a morning of breakfast with

    her peers in the program and setting up

    the scene of the accident, Jackson was

    covered in fake blood and put in a de-

    molished vehicle with her three best

    friends, seniors Leopoldo Amaya,

    omar Coria and Jessica Munoz.

    next to them was another crashed

    car with seniors denzel foster and

    Adrian hughes. When the staged

    accident began, Amaya and Coria were

    to be dead on the scene, Munoz was

    unconscious, hughes was disoriented

    and foster was paralyzed from the

    waist down.

    once the paramedics arrived and

    students were assessed for injuries,

    Jackson realized she was not okay.

    Using the designated code words this

    is for real, she alerted the paramedics

    around her of her fragile state as she

    watched her friends be taken away.

    i was very emotional and i cried

    before, i cried during and ill probably

    cry later on too. it was really hard for

    me to watch them get taken away in the

    body bags. i cant even put it into

    words. i lost it. i couldnt control it

    anymore, said Jackson as she recalled

    the mornings events.

    hughes was taken out and ques-

    tioned upon suspicion for a dUi while

    Jackson watched from the curb nearby.

    however she was not the only student

    to become emotionally in-

    volved in the scene.

    the onlooking

    seniors and

    t e a c h e r s

    were all at-

    t e n t i v e ,

    s o m e

    w i t h


    eras, others staring in shock and occa-

    sionally crying. the tragic demonstra-

    tion had a huge impact on the school.

    As Jackson watched her friends getting

    carried away and identified, she was

    comforted by an officer and another

    adult in the program.

    Jessica Munoz was one of my

    closest friends. Shes been there for me

    since sophomore year. Shes never let

    me down and i could count on her for

    anything. [Leopoldo] is the same way.

    i met him sophomore year in Law

    Academy and he is a big brother to me.

    he helps me with so many situations in

    my life and omar was my boyfriend of

    three years. hes one of my best

    friends. i dont know what id do with-

    out any of them. it was really hard for

    me to watch all of them just go.

    Like many people in todays society

    this wasnt the first time Jackson has

    been exposed to the tragedy of a car ac-

    cident due to a dUi. i was 7-years-old

    and we got a call around 12:30 at night

    that my moms friend had been at a bar.

    he was walking out of it, was hit by

    somebody and was flipped over the car

    three or four times [before he] landed

    on the windshield. he cracked open his

    skull and was in the hospital for a

    while. to me it seemed a lot longer but

    it was probably about a week later and

    he was gone.

    he was so close to me its really

    hard to watch the people you

    love go through that and re-

    ally have no way to com-

    fort them and tell them it

    will be okay because it

    wont. Somebody

    made the wrong deci-

    sion and it cost some-

    one their life.

    i just really hope

    people take into con-

    sideration their ac-

    tions. not just

    drinking and driving

    but in general. dont

    put somebody elses

    life in danger, not even

    your own because you

    dont just hurt yourself.

    You hurt everybody around you,

    Jackson said.

    this message was con-

    veyed through those who

    took part in the pro-

    gram. Munoz said, i

    experienced every-

    thing to the full ex-

    tent because i got

    into the acci-

    dent and i flat

    lined in the

    a m -

    bulance. ... they took me to the hospi-

    tal and my uncle had to identify me. he

    was so upset and my little sister got

    wheeled out of the room because she

    was crying so much. it was a really big

    deal ... it made me feel really sad be-

    cause death has been a common thing

    in my life. When you feel [loss], it

    hurts a lot. When its somebody close

    to you, it hurts even more. Your heart

    is just ripped out of you. i felt what he

    felt. i felt that his heart was gone. My

    uncle practically raised me and i could

    feel him touching my hair and he

    wanted to hug me but i was dead. i

    could feel he wanted me to get back up

    ... but it wasnt happening.

    As students responded to the acci-

    dent and in the assembly following,

    support flooded through social media

    with shared pictures and reflective

    comments. the reactions were com-

    forting to officials of both the school

    and the city as Mayor rusty Bailey

    spoke at the mock memorial encourag-

    ing students to drive safely.

    After the ceremony the students in

    the program reunited with their parents,

    some with tear-filled eyes and others

    with thoughtful words of gratitude for

    their lives. Many seniors were posi-

    tively impacted by the unique experi-

    ence offered to them in the

    Every 15 Min-

    utes pro-


    Harlee Duckett

    We see consequences [of drunk

    driving] all the time. But we lie to

    ourselves and say that won't hap-

    pen to me. Until it does, we wont

    change our way of life.

    Rachel Justis

    At first, I didn't feel very emotionally

    connected, but when some students

    read their letters to their parents at

    the assembly, I was moved because I

    realized the value of life and how this

    could happen to anyone. My friends,

    my teachers, my parents, even me.

    And the fact that nothing would ever

    be the same afterward.

    Ryan Assali

    I thought that 'Every 15 Minutes' was

    something really good to see. Lots of

    people need to be informed on the dan-

    gers of driving and making the wrong

    choices in general. People underestimate

    the consequences of their actions all the

    time and it always leads to something

    bad, so this event was a good reminder ...

    People need to respect the purpose of the

    event and just do the right thing.

    Caitlin Redak