Emma Peplow

 “There’s been an accident at the high school,” a concerned voice crackled over the PA system on Monday morning. A brief 911 call ensued and the juniors and seniors left their 3rd period classes to watch first responders react to a simulated DUI car crash on 15th street.

Students looked in in horror and shock at the sight of Junior Spencer Lujan lying bloody near the sidewalk and Senior Kaitlyn
Cosenza lying alongside an overturned car. Senior Anna Hagadorn was lying motionless in the passenger seat of the second
car involved in the crash with Junior Berkeley Van Oostendorp in the driver’s seat. Crumpled beer cans littered the pavement
around the crash, signifying the role of alcohol in the crash.

This simulated crash was a part of a program called Every 15 Minutes put on by Newport Beach law enforcement with the help of the Newport Harbor Foundation. “The Every 15 Minutes program is basically our way that we can show all the steps that someone would go through whether they’re the driver, the victim, whatever part they may play in a situation like that,” said Officer Gamble, who has coordinated Harbor’s two most recent Every 15 Minutes program as well as last year’s program at

Once the first responders came onto the scene, the firemen began tending to Cosenza and Hagadorn, having to deconstruct the wrecked vehicles to mount them on stretchers and drive them away in ambulances. Van Oostendorp, the driver, was given a sobriety test by one of the first responding officers and was arrested for Driving Under the Influence. Lujan was put in a body bag by the coroner and taken to the morgue, pronounced dead on the scene.

 The grim reaper and 16 students in black who had been pulled out of class, pronounced dead to their 3rd period class following a fatal DUI car accident, stood behind the accident surveying the damage.

 “When we pick students, our goal is to pick students across the board so that everyone will be able to identify with and
be shocked at someone involved,” said Gamble.

 Tuesday, during 4th period, juniors and seniors were called out of class again to listen to the parents of the dead address the loss of their children as well as letters from the dead to their parents. Students watched in horror and awe, wiping the tears from their faces as they watched the footage at the hospital of the victims of the car accident being taken to the hospital and morgue as the doctor shared the news of their death with their weeping parents.

“I could never imagine having to do what my parents did. I am so proud of them,” said Cosenza, whose parents were featured in the video receiving her death notification.

Following the student and teacher testimonials, Desiree Garcia, gave a moving testimony about the loss of her mother to a dunk driver. “What it came down to was that my mother’s life was worth two shots of vodka,” said Garcia. “And that still makes me boil inside.”

“Luckily in my career, when I have responded to calls like these I haven’t known the families involved,” said Gamble. “But now that I have been here at this school for awhile, nothing would break my heart more than if any of our students were involved whether they made the choice to drink and drive or were the victim, it would be very hard to deal with. I’m hoping this helps everyone make a better choice.”

 “The harrowing reenactments of the Every 15 Minutes program were so realistic that the potential dangers of the brutal realities became alltoo- tangible, and this shock method has proven to be quite trenchant among my peers whom I’ve spoken
with,” said junior Wyatt Robertson who acted as a participant in the program.


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