Intoxicating campus crash

Firefighters attempt to remove the dead (Mikhal-King Thomas) and injured (Ana Saucedo) from the staged accident in the Senior Parking Lot.

Serena Ceci

Firefighters attempt to remove the dead (Mikhal-King Thomas) and injured (Ana Saucedo) from the staged accident in the Senior Parking Lot.

Senior Cody Lawrence starred as a drunk driver in the Every 15 Minutes presentation on March 14 held by the Simi Valley Police Department at Royal High School in order to warn students about the dangers of drinking and driving. Juniors and seniors watched from the bleachers on a rainy day while a drunk driving accident was revealed in front of them with members of the Simi Valley Police Department rushing in to assess the scene over the loudspeakers acting exactly as if it was a real accident that had happened and explained the step by step process the police and firefighters go through from getting the injured to safety with the paramedics to the sobriety test given to the driver while the injured are still being removed. Senior Mikhal-King Thomas (Kel)  the passenger of Cody Lawrence’s vehicle was DOA, Dead on Arrival, senior Ana Saucedo the driver of the other vehicle, survived with lasting injuries and severe trauma after watching her passenger senior Melaine Montes die from her injuries in the car. Lawrence was deemed intoxicated by the police at the scene, was arrested, and was put into a holding cell at the station while Saucedo was taken to the hospital. 

During the whole process of the staged accident, Video Production was creating a short film on drunk driving explaining the back story behind the accident that the students had seen the day before. On March 15 juniors and seniors sat in the gym to watch the short film that included footage leading up to the accident, inside the holding cell, inside the hospital, and other action shots from inside both vehicles. After the video, all students who were “killed” in the drunk driving accidents got up and read their goodbye letters to friends and family out loud in order to simulate what their eulogies would be like and who mattered most to them were mentioned, in Kels letter he read “And to my mom I know it wasn’t easy being a single mother raising me, and to my teachers and staff thank you for pushing me to reach my goals every day.” 

The last and most impactful part of the Every 15 Minutes presentation was hearing the real story of a beautiful young woman Mallory Ray Dies who was killed by a drunk driver, her father Matthew Ray Dies created a slideshow presentation to show students about her life, and how dearly she is missed by everyone around her. He remarked about her “famous smile” and how she lit up every room she walked in. His love for her was felt by every person in the room as he spoke, and when he spoke of the driver he said, “He is not some monster, he is just a man, a military veteran who coped with his pain by drinking.” What he wanted all of the students to remember the most was, “Make good choices because your choices make you.” Matthew Dies has an Instagram account in honor of his daughter @vow4mal, he posts on her birthday about how drinking and driving kills more people than his daughter.

Matthew Dies presents a slideshow about his beloved daughter Mallory Ray Dies who was killed by a drunk driver. (Serena Ceci)