DUI realities crash home

Whitney High hosts Every 15 Minutes
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Simulation shows high school students the reality of alcohol-related crashes Every 15 minutes somebody in the United States dies in an alcohol-related traffic collision. Last Wednesday, Whitney High School juniors and seniors witnessed a graphic simulation of a crash scene where alcohol is involved. On the first day of the “Every 15 Minutes” presentation on the campus, three of the five students involved in the simulated crash “died.” As emergency responders used the Jaws of Life to extricate passengers from the vehicle, Rocklin Police officer Elizabeth Davis “arrested” student Rachel Henry on charges of driving under the influence. One of the most powerful moments of the presentation, noted California Highway Patrol officer Dave Martinez, was the reaction of Evan Orrick’s parents. Students watched as Mike and Kirsten Orrick arrived at the scene and were informed by Placer County Community chaplain Christina Robleto that their son had been “killed.” Some of the students watching the graphic life-like simulation were visibly shaken and became emotional over the prospect of a classmate being killed in such a traumatic manner.  “We saw a lot of tears. A lot of people were paying attention,” said Michael Nottoli, crime prevention and volunteer services coordinator for the Rocklin Police Department. Throughout the remainder of the day, law enforcement officers walked into classrooms and removed students selected from a cross-section of the entire student body, Nottoli continued. The officer then presented the “dead” students’ obituary to the teacher to read aloud. “We took all those kids to the morgue or the jail,” he said. On the second day, students attended an assembly featuring the sister of a teenager who was killed in a drunk-driving accident as well as a message from Rocklin Police Chief Ron Lawrence. The California Highway Patrol in cooperation hosts the annual event with the Rocklin Police and Fire Departments, Calstar, Placer County Sheriff’s Department, AMR, Sutter Roseville Hospital, Placer County Chaplain’s Office and the Placer County Coroner’s Office. “It was very powerful,” said Nottoli. “We hope we made a long-lasting impact on minors about making good decisions.” -- Philip Wood and Gloria Beverage