WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 28, 2011, 08:48 AM

Students experience day 2 of project designed to get them to think twice before drinking and driving

Moorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A few drinks at a wedding and a car race that went bad: Two stories involving alcohol that ended tragically. Today at Moorhead High School, juniors and seniors experienced day two of “Every 15-Minutes”. It is a project nearly 2-years in the making, designed to get students to think twice before drinking and driving.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

After being separated from their parents and friends for the night, two dozen Moorhead High Students who were selected to die still held their obituaries. Students watched a powerful video shot the last 24 hours in Moorhead from the crash at Moorhead High, to a Clay County Courtroom, and then crushing news for a mother.

Some families wept on stage as they shared one assignment that would be the hardest homework ever.

ADAM WOLF - Moorhead Student: “I died today and I wish I would have said one more I love you. I don't remember the last time I said that.”

Final letters written to each other.

MERCEDES ANN NAPPE - Moorhead Student: “And you are the best dad in the whole world.”

TROY NAPPE - Mercedes' Dad: “Your laugh will live in my ears and your smile will cross my face and my love for you will live on in my heart. You are my pumpkin and I will miss you and love you until I join you.”

But it would be Everett Contois and Liz Parrow-Hawkins who would leave these students with an emotion filled message.

“Let me tell you something. I am that guy.”

Contois is now 35, recently released from a Minnesota prison. He went in at age 18.

EVERETT CONTOIS - Released from Prison: “When I was 18, my dad bought me a high performance sports car. A 2-door coup convertible, a 43-thousand dollar car.”

It was a car race that went out of control after a police chase.

EVERETT CONTOIS - Released from Prison: “I just kept going. What stopped my car was a guy coming home from work minding his own business in a Dodge Ram Pickup truck that I t-boned at 100 miles an hour. He never knew what hit him.”

He got 14-years in prison for driving drunk and killing another man. Now out of prison life is far from rosy.”

EVERETT CONTOIS - Released from Prison: “And I scrub gum and baby puke and dog puke and pee and rotten food off of cars.”

The students also heard from Liza Parrow-Hawkins. This mother lost her daughter and husband to a drunk driver.

LIZ PARROW-HAWKINS - Lost Husband and Daughter to DUI Crash: “I would give anything to have her back.”

In Moorhead, near Highway 10 and 75 in 1998, a drunk driver who left a wedding, minutes later was taking the lives of a father and his daughter.

LIZ PARROW-HAWKINS - Lost Husband and Daughter to DUI Crash: “And I could only think, God help us all.”

After two days of pretending what drinking and driving can do, these students now return to their normal lives. For 24-hours they and their families got to feel what its like to lose something, someone. The hope is that they never have to feel that for real.

One reason for the “Every15-minutes” project is the upcoming prom. And today at Moorhead High there was an announcement that for the first time ever a breathalyzer will be used on those students taking part in the celebration.

GENE BOYLE - Moorhead High Principal: “My hope is that no one comes in and needs to be transferred to an officer. This is not a punishment; it is the opposite. We want to offer an alcohol and drug free dance.”

Fargo schools also use the breathalyzer at spring proms.