"Every 15 Minutes" Shows High School Seniors Real-Life Drinking - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

"Every 15 Minutes" Shows High School Seniors Real-Life Drinking and Driving Consequences

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KENNEWICK, WA- Some local high school seniors had an up close and personal look at what it was like to lose someone in a drunk driving accident.

Kennewick Police hosted their annual "Every 15 Minutes Program."  They have done it for more than two decades.  It teaches high school seniors the dangers of drinking while driving.

Almost 20 years ago there was an alcohol related car accident happening every 15 minutes.  That is where the name of the program came from.  Now, that national average is more like one drunk driving death every 53 minutes.  It is a stat Kennewick police want to eliminate as much as possible and hopefully educate students through this program.

Students at Southridge High School got a first-hand look at a car hit by a drunk driver.

"It's not just about scaring them, it's about making them feel what it feels like to lose somebody," said Sgt. Ken Lattin, Kennewick Police Department.

24 students played victims killed in accidents by drunk drivers.  They were pulled out of their classrooms, laid on stretchers, and dressed in all black and with face paint, acting as if they really did die.  They were not allowed to speak with their friends.

"As I was getting pulled away on the stretcher, I was crying and I couldn't help it.  It's just realizing that this could happen to you.  It's kind of eye-opening," said Ana Lawrence, Every 15 Minutes participant.

Lawrence said it was emotional for several other students.  Cole Pitt was also chosen to participate and said it was a good experience.

"It feels good knowing that I can set an example for my classmates and help them learn the problems and consequences that come with drinking and driving," said Pitt.

The program is not finished just yet.  Those 24 students will stay overnight and do some team building activities to prepare for a skit they will perform for their senior class Friday about drinking and driving.

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