The Olympian

Every Fifteen Minutes

Bianca Salcedo, staff writer

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Every fifteen minutes, a life is lost  by someone driving under the influence.
On March 20, Bassett Unified School District cooperated with the Baldwin Park California Highway Patrol and the California Office of Traffic Safety to create a mock DUI crash for the seniors and juniors as a way to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving. Funding for the program was provided for by a grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The CHP took in 20 Bassett students and worked alongside local law enforcement and a professional film crew to produce an educational movie that would depict a realistic situation faced by many teenagers today.
The plot of the film follows the consequences of reckless teenage behavior following a high school student’s party.
Tony Alvarado’s house party would prove fatal after a pair of teenage friends, Braulio Medina and Paul Garcia, drunkenly pick up a schoolmate, Bianca Salcedo, for the party and are then involved in a car crash involving Tony and his passenger, Destiny Arciniega.
In the film, Paul Garcia and Tony Alvarado were pronounced dead as a consequence of the accident. Braulio Medina was taken into custody, and was  given 12 years for driving under the influence and vehicular manslaugher.
The 20 students who were chosen to participate for Every 15 Minutes were taken away for two days, isolated from the world, and taken in as observers of the legal system so they can experience what it meant to leave the ones they loved and experience the full extent of the perils of drunk driving.
The film was presented to an assembly of juniors and seniors in the Bassett High gymnasium.
A casket was adorned in the center gym, symbolizing the people who die due to drunk driving. The parents of the students who lost their lives that day spoke to their children as if fiction was their reality.
“Every 15 Minutes opened my eyes to see more than what I already knew. The program showed me the reality of what could happen. Visual and auditory scenarios were given to us and it really hit a spot in my heart and mind. You don’t really pay any mind to incidents until you’re faced with them. The program really puts into perspective the possibility that anything can happen and makes you realize the importance of your actions,” said Yanisbell Mejia (11), one of the 20 students who participated in the program.
Senior Natalie Torres said, “It made me think more about my actions and what tragedies my family would go through if I chose to drive under the influence.”
Drunk driving isn’t worth the destruction of lives. Nowadays, there is Uber and Lyft that make it easy to take a ride without endangering the your own life or others.
Remember every 15 minutes a life is lost due to drunk driving; don’t be the cause.

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Every Fifteen Minutes