Lancers simulate crash for Every 15 Minutes program


Erin Lafferty

Libertytown Fire Department rescue removes Justin Knotts from the simulated crash to place him in medical care.

by Grace Weaver and Erin Lafferty

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On Wednesday, April 22, juniors and seniors at Linganore High School received an unexpected surprise after first period: they witnessed four students being rescued from a drunk driving collision.

The crash, blood and bruises were a part of a simulation aimed to bring awareness to the dangers of drunk driving.

Students heard a simulated 911 call that brought the an ambulance, police, and fire and rescue to the scene of the crash, staged in the rear of the campus, near the stadium.

Students stood on the hill above the stadium parking lot that overlooked the crash scene. The simulated crash included senior Rhianna Lapen, junior Carter Schmidt,  junior Justin Knotts, and senior Ally Hammersla.

The scenario depicted Hammersla driving the maroon car with Lapen as the passenger. In the course of the assembly, the students discovered that  Hammersla was the cause of the fatal crash, due to drunk driving. In the white car Schmidt and Knotts were both victims.

Mr. Jeremy Brown, SGA advisor, narrated the fictitious event and explained what would happen if this had been an actual car crash. Throughout the assembly, he included statistics about drinking and driving.

Every 15 Minutes is a two-day national program hosted by many high schools across the country. The first day commences with one student being pulled out of class every 15 minutes, symbolically representing the fact that one person dies every 15 minutes nationally due to an alcohol-related collision.

Like the national program, during the day, juniors and seniors assemble to witness a simulated car crash on campus. Students who participate in the program as VOIDS, or Victims of Impaired Driving, attend an overnight workshop where they further experience group activities that teach impaired driving awareness. The program concludes the next day with an assembly, recapping the first day with a strong call-to-action to avoid the dangers of drunk driving.  LHS chose not to replicate all of the features of the national program, like having a Grim Reaper on campus.

Junior Matt DeMember, a VOID, said, “It was very eye opening to see how disconnected we were once we were pulled from class.”

The program was designed and implemented by LHS junior Noah Ismael with a team of parents, students, and teachers.

“There was a lot of planning involved in this program. We have been working on this since August, and while there were a few glitches I think it went well overall,” said Ismael.

The school thanks the Student Government Association, the Libertytown Fire Company, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department, and Judge Janice Ambrose from the District Court of Maryland for their support.

Appreciation is also extended to sponsors of the program, including the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Missy Baker State Farm Insurance, Browning Reagle Insurance, 40 West Towing, and Greg’s Driving School.

Information regarding today’s Every 15 Minutes drunk driving simulation has been posted online at