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Every 15 Minutes program makes the difference for a lifetime

Students get real life lesson on the impact of driving under the influence
by: garth guibord, Sandy High School teacher Bruce Scarth addresses the student body during the

It happened right before their eyes: every 15 minutes on Wednesday, April 23, a junior or senior at Sandy High School was taken from class and returned shortly after as a corpse. For their classmates, it was a stark representation of how somebody is killed in an accident stemming from driving under the influence every 15 minutes.

On Thursday, April 24, juniors and seniors at the high school then gathered at an assembly to hear testimonials from two local families who continue to feel the impact of real life accidents that changed their lives forever.

Diane Johnson shared the story of her son, Gary, who was killed in an accident during January, 2007 when another driver suffering from withdrawal of methamphetamine crossed into his lane and hit him head-on.

'It's tough,' said Johnson. 'But they asked and I thought, hey, if one life is saved. I hope it made an impact.'

Sandy High School Choral Director Bruce Scarth told the story of how a driver under the influence of methamphetamine rear-ended a car with his son in the backseat, severely injuring him.

'In the blink of an eye, my son had gone from having a great day with his girlfriend and her family to near death,' said Scarth.

The two-day program made a dramatic impact on students, many of whom were preparing for prom night on Friday.

'I just feel really bad for the families and I feel that had a good impact on the choices I'm going to make,' said junior Matt Spanier, 17.

'I think everyone around me was crying and it just really hit home,' said senior Megan Gibson, 17. 'I'm definitely not going to drink and drive. I wouldn't have anyway, but it's a good reminder.'