Every 15 Minutes
Southrigde High School students mourned the loss of 24 students today, a yearly reminder of the deadly consequences of drunk driving.
The Grim Reaper took two dozen seniors out of class today, making them dead to their classmates.
After school, officers took the students away to a type of retreat, where they are not allowed to speak to or communicate with each other in any way. Police say this simulates separation from friends and family.
And, as part of the exercise, tonight police will notify some of the parents that their child has died. Kennewick Police say the emotional nature of this simulation keeps the consequences fresh in teens' minds, and students say it works.
"Representing someone who has died from drinking and driving. It changes your aspect of how you attend school, classes, the people you see around you," said senior Lupita Tovar
""You always know not to, but this is giving you examples of why and what could happen if you do. It's also answering the 'what if' question. You don't get answers to that all the time. But this is giving you answers," said Rachel Uretsky.
Sgt. Ken Lattin added, "Preventing fatalities, preventing drinking drivers is a pretty complex program to solve. This is just one piece of it."
In the past 20 years DUI deaths have gone down nationwide from about 4 every hour to one per hour.
In Kennewick there has not been a DUI-related teen death in three years.
Pasco High School will be having a similar event tomorrow.