WHAT: To drive home the perils of operating a car while distracted or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Pioneer High School will host an “Every 15 Minutes” program, a two-day event featuring a simulated car crash, rescue efforts and the dramatized deaths of students, as well as a candlelight vigil and mock funeral.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 4: 10:30 a.m., simulated crash scene; 7:30 p.m., candlelight vigil
Thursday, April 5: 11 a.m., funeral

WHERE: Pioneer High School, 10800 Benavon St., Whittier

DETAILS: The “Every 15 Minutes” program will begin with a simulated auto crash in front of the school and a pre-recorded 911 call that triggers an emergency response by law enforcement agencies, firefighters, paramedics and the coroner. The staged crash involves students who are “critically and fatally wounded” and transported via ambulance to a local hospital, and an “injured” student, who is arrested for drunk driving.

Additionally, a Grim Reaper pulls students from classes every 15 minutes to become one of the “living dead,” representing the number of lives lost to drunken driving. These students do not return to their classes and instead participate in an overnight retreat without contact with family and friends. A candlelight vigil is held in the evening, honoring the “victims” of the crash. A mock funeral is held the next day, when students watch a presentation of the previous day’s events. The “living dead” are also part of an emotional reunion with family and friends.

The program is a collaborative effort between Pioneer High School and the Los Angeles County Fire and Police departments, California Highway Patrol, MADD, LA County Coroner, CARE ambulance, Health First Medical and Del Angel Mortuary in Pico Rivera.