News


A matter of life and death

Anti-DUI program makes an impact on students

The scene was somber on Foothill Road in front of the high school Tuesday as juniors and seniors gathered to witness the enactment of the aftermath of a fatal accident caused by a teen drunken driver.

Police, firefighters and paramedics were involved in the exercise, dubbed "Every 15 Minutes" for the frequency at which a person is killed in an alcohol- or drug-related accident in the United States.

Foothill High students, and some parents, first saw a video that showed two groups of teens. One was partying; the kids scattered when the police arrived, getting into their car although some were obviously under the influence. The other group was at a sporting event at the high school. A woman who works in the school office ran after that car to give one boy his wallet.

The video ended with a sickening crash. The viewers then filed outside to Foothill Road to see the aftermath of the accident.

Two smashed cars were at the scene with injured bodies visible and the school office woman on the ground, bloodied and lying still. When police arrive they reported two fatalities, including the pedestrian, and two critically injured. Firefighters had to cut away a car door to reach one young man.

Also on site were the teen who reported the accident and the drunken driver, who was taken away in handcuffs after botching a field sobriety test.

"I think this had a profound and powerful impact on the kids," said Principal John Dwyer as the scene was being cleared. "This is a very impressionable time for teenagers, and this time of year they make difficult decisions. It's important to talk about these issues up front."

Dwyer announced that counselors would be on hand for anyone who needed to talk after the upsetting simulation. Many students were visibly upset as they witnessed their classmates lying bloodied in the crash.

Seniors Lauren Traurig and Rachel Usedom coordinated the effort, choosing the actors from among the clubs on campus.

"I think the way our actors were trained made it seem really real," said Traurig. "I was talking to friends afterward who said they couldn't believe things were portrayed so real."

Some students are designated as "the living dead." They dress in black with ghoulish makeup. Tomorrow at school, one of them will be removed from classes every 15 minutes.

The injured partied were really brought to Eden Medical Center, and the "dead" bodies were brought to the morgue, where their parents had to identify them, said Traurig.

"It's a big community effort," she noted. "I think it really hits the parents as well. Sometimes they don't even know what's going on in their children's lives."

Comments

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Posted by nancy k
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2010 at 6:27 pm

why don't the sophs get to participate? Many of them are already driving. I know in the SRVUSD all high school grades participate.


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Posted by perry the platypus
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 13, 2010 at 7:52 pm

there weren't enough room for the 1200 fresh/sophs


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Posted by nancy k
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2010 at 8:12 am

again srvusd can do it. have 2 assemblies instead of one. this is a very impactful demonstration and since it is only held it every 2 or 3 years and they alternate the high schools these freshman/sophs may never see it.


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Posted by Michelle
a resident of another community
on Apr 14, 2010 at 8:34 am

This is such a wonderful event the the city & school puts on. We live in a neighborhood where the HS children party almost every weekend. The parents are aware of it and allow drinking and driving. I just pray that no one gets hurt and/or killed from this families stupidity.


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Posted by resident Autumn Glen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2010 at 8:45 am

This is a very well-done school/community program. Parents, please tell your children not to drink and drive and NOT to get in the car with anyone else who drinks and drives! If your child drinks with a friend and then gets into the car with this friend, they are as guilty as the driver!!


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Posted by Ann
a resident of Verona
on Apr 14, 2010 at 9:12 am

Village students were also included in the group of students participating in this - and YES it was very crowded....I was one of the parents whose child was one of the "living dead" I had to write her obituary and prepare a memorial for her.. ....no parent should ever have to bury their child...


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Towne
on Apr 14, 2010 at 10:50 am

I believe that in Pleasanton the simulation is offered alternating years between the two high schools, but both juniors and seniors will see it at least once before graduation.


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Posted by Marie
a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 14, 2010 at 11:07 am

Its ironic that this article is right across from the picture of Laurel Williams. I know that Laurel attended this while she was a student at Foothill. To bad it did not work in her case. Such a waste of a life!!


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Posted by yomama
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 14, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Those photos are very disturbing but I guess that's the point. As a parent of a teenager, I welcome anything that might prevent driving under the influence.


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Posted by Anonymouse
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 14, 2010 at 4:43 pm

This incredible program increases the "reality knowledge" for people (teens and adults) to GRASP the concept of "drinking and driving" - No matter if we attend this program, or not. A last minute decision can often be the bad decision. I met Laurel's Mom today, she raised her daughter very well, she is a broken heart... it was that last minute decision someone makes, in this case Laurel, that over threw every aspect of this program's influence and her upbringing. This program WORKS. Mrs. Williams attended today, in hopes that other children make better last minute decisions. Mr. Williams spoke today and brought tears to us all. Life is lost, it wasn't a waste... it was a life lost mistake. Her parents are torn and need community love. Which they received today in sight of their extreme grief. I hope never to experience that loss with my children. My daughter's participation the past few weeks has already made an influence in her life and my life. I am glad Village H.S. participated today, it is about time they are recognized for the Excellent School they are. Thank you Officer Boland! This community appreciates you. Thank you Foothill staff and students, thank you Village HS staff and students, You Rock! Your community appreciates all of YOU!! EVERY 15 MINUTES SOMEONE DIES FROM A DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT. I lost my brother in law in 2006. He was in the other car that was hit by a drunk driver. - R.I.P. -


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Posted by Ann
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 14, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Since PUSD began this program I have asked that sophomores be included. I have been told our schools have too many students to be accommodated. Unless their student is one of the actors parents are asked not to attend due to the crowding.


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Posted by FHS teacher
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 14, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Just for clarification, the program is presented every other year at the comprehensive high schools to the juniors and seniors. This ensures that every student will see it either his junior or senior year.


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Posted by will
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 14, 2010 at 10:58 pm

if fresh/soph were included then it would only happen every 3 or 4 years, a lot of time to forget or the impact to weaken. besides no freshmen drive and many sophs don't drive. and when freshmen/sophs party, they are partying with the juniors and seniors that just went through the program, and the upper classmen will influence the lower classmen. it is set up perfectly.


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Posted by Andrew
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm

While it's certainly a nice attempt at showing the dangers of drunk driving, I doubt it has much of an impact on the kids that actually drink and drive. This, along with DARE, is a bit of a joke.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Andrew - yes, some(many) kids may take it as a joke but many are very affected. And if it makes a few kids think about getting into a car after drinking (or maybe not drinking at all) maybe it will save your life or the life of someone you love.


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Posted by Amazed
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 15, 2010 at 8:58 pm

@Nancy K - why don't stop the whining and be thankful there's at least something like this for the kids. Plain and simple, you're being ignorant.

@Andrew -- participate in this sometime and tell me it doesn't have an effect. Do you know Nancy??


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Posted by Amazed
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 15, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Marie, it was about a 1-2 miles from where Laurel was killed, not right across the street. And both of her parents - who are amazing people - took part in the event. Yes it's too bad it didn't save her, but her parents are doing everything thing they can to make sure to help save others.


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Posted by someone
a resident of Valley Trails
on Apr 17, 2010 at 3:06 pm

i don't really think that arguing over this is what's going to stop the kids from drinking and driving. I am currently a sophomore and i do feel that it is unfair that we did not get to watch, but i also believe that it doesn't really matter when you see it, it will still have an impact on people. the pleasanton community does an amazaing job of trying to spread the word about not just drunk driving, but drug use as well. i think that after seeing this, a lot of the students will start using safe rides more often and make better choices. i hope that people take this seriously.


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Posted by someone
a resident of Valley Trails
on Apr 17, 2010 at 3:07 pm

and andrew, people that take this as a joke, are typically the ones who do drink and drive and still think that they are invinsible so they try to blow this kind of stuff off. its not a joke when its your life that is affected by it.


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Posted by nancy k
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2010 at 4:39 pm

@amazed...first of all get a real name...secondly, my daughter was a "living dead" one year, so I was in the thick of things. Thirdly, I see sophomores drinking and driving now...it is never to soon to teach them a lesson...and finally...this program is funded mainly with grant money, donations, not by the general fund.

And NO I do not know Andrew, but believe me, we are both glad we DO NOT know YOU!


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Posted by Marie
a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 17, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Amazed, the article was right across the page from the picture of Laurel on the P-town web site. I know where she died and think of her each time I drive by the site. Glad that her parents are trying to make something good come out of something so sad!


Like this comment
Posted by Chris
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 18, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Once again an article on something positive to help our teens and our teens parents and adullts fighting (Comment partially removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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