Police, Fire participate in grim high school assembly

IECN photo Redlands Police: Redlands Police Officer Dale Peters checks on a pedestrian who was “struck and killed” by a vehicle during a mock drunk driving accident, part of the Every 15 Minutes program at Redlands High School.
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Redlands Police and Firefighters participated along with Redlands High School, the California Highway Patrol, American Medical Response, Emmerson-Bartlett Mortuary, Mercy Air and others in “Every 15 Minutes,” a chillingly realistic demonstration of the dangers of drinking and driving, Wednesday, April 3.

IECN photo Redlands Police: Redlands Fire Captain Josh Hannan, Engineer Brent Fuller and Firefighter/Paramedic Bradford Williams work to extricate passengers from the damaged vehicle following a mock drunk driving accident, part of the Every 15 Minutes program at Redlands High School.

Police and fire crews responded to a mock accident involving a drunk driver who struck two teen pedestrians on Central Avenue, behind Redlands High School. As students in bleachers watched the tragedy unfold, firefighters extricated victims from the wrecked vehicle, and treated the two pedestrians, including one who was pronounced “dead” on the scene and taken away in a coroner’s van. The second victim was airlifted by a Mercy Air helicopter from the field at the high school stadium. In the scenario, she also “died” at the hospital. A passenger in the car was transported by American Medical Response ambulance.

After performing a Field Sobriety Test, police “arrested” the teen driver, placed him in handcuffs and into the back of a patrol car.

During the morning, 21 preselected students were taken out of classes every 15 minutes by the grim reaper and his or her obituary read aloud, representing the statistic that someone in the United States is killed or injured by a drunk driver every 15 minutes.

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Students involved in the scenario toured West Valley Detention Center and the San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office and spent the night at an overnight retreat, representing the separation from their families. Students and parents each wrote letters reflecting on their lives and the things they never had a chance to tell each other.

A “memorial service” assembly is scheduled Thursday at the school, which will include a video of Wednesday’s events, reading of the “farewell” letters and a guest speaker whose wife and children had been killed by a drunken driver.

“Every 15 Minutes” was sponsored through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety and the California Highway Patrol. In addition to the Redlands Police and Fire Departments, partners included: the Automobile Club of Southern California, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, the Redlands High School PTA, Jersey Mike’s, Taco Shack, Emmerson-Bartlett Mortuary, Two Guys, Pepe’s Towing and Hockridge Florists.

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