Last Words

A photograph showing a teenaged girl killed in an accident was actually taken from a scene staged to demonstrate the perils of drunk driving to students.

  • Published 3 January 2012

Claim

A photograph shows a girl killed in a drunk-driving accident, with accompanying text recording her last words.

drunk A TRUE STORY AND CONSIDER THIS IN THE UPCOMING NEW YEAR! I went to the party and remembered what you said. You asked me not to drink alcohol. So I drank a Sprite. I felt proud of myself, as you said I should feel. You said I should not drink and drive, contrary to what some friends told me. I made a healthy choice and your advice was correct, as all you give me forever. When the party finally ended, people began to drive without being able to do so. I went to my car with the certainty that he would return home in peace. I never imagined what awaited me, Mom. Now I'm lying in the street and I hear the policeman say: "The kid that caused this accident was drunk." Mom, his voice seems so distant. My blood is spilled everywhere and I'm trying with all my might not moan. I can hear the doctors say, "This girl is going to die." I have the certainty that the young man, who ran at full speed, decided to drink and drive, and now I have to die. Why do people do this, Mom, knowing that this is going to ruin many lives? The pain is cutting me like a hundred knives. Tell my sister not to cry, tell Daddy to be strong. And when I go to heaven, I'll be watching for you all. Someone should have taught that boy, its wrong to drink and drive. Maybe if his parents would have said, I would not be dying now. My breath is getting weaker, more and more. Mom, these are my last moments and I feel so desperate. I wish I could hug Mom, while I'm lying here dying. I wish I could tell you how much I love you, Mom. So .. I love ... you ... goodbye ... " (These words were written by a reporter who witnessed the accident. The girl, as she died, was saying these words and the reporter wrote them down ... very overwhelmed. The journalist started this campaign, if you read this note, please click "share", so more people can be aware. Therefore, I ask one small gesture, send it to your friends, family and loved ones.)

Collected via e-mail, December 2011

Rating

Origin

Warning teens about the perils of drunk driving may be a laudable goal, but nonetheless the nightmarish “true story” scenario presented above was pure fiction. The gruesome photograph didn’t depict a real accident of any type; rather, it was a staged accident scene established at Laguna Hills (California) High School in February 2010 as part of the Every 15 Minutes program to educate students about the dangers of drinking and texting while driving:

Life’s lessons are best learned through experience. Unfortunately, when the target audience is teens and the topic is drinking and texting while driving, experience is not the teacher of choice.

The Every 15 Minutes Program offers real-life experience without the real-life risks. This emotionally charged program, entitled Every 15 Minutes, is an event designed to dramatically instill teenagers with the potentially dangerous consequences of drinking alcohol and texting while driving. This powerful program will challenge students to think about drinking, texting while driving, personal safety, and the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved.

After lunch, a simulated traffic collision will be viewable on the school grounds. Rescue workers will treat injured student participants. These students will experience first hand, the sensations of being involved in a tragic, alcohol-related and texting while driving collision. The coroner will handle fatalities on the scene, while the injured students will be extricated by the jaws-of-life manned by Fire-Fighters and Paramedics. Police Officers will investigate, arrest, and book the student “drunk driver”. Student participants will continue their experience by an actual trip to the morgue, the hospital emergency room, and to the police department jail for the purpose of being booked for “drunk driving”.

The accompanying text, which supposedly records the last utterances of the “dead” girl in the photograph, is taken from a poem (“Somebody Should Have Taught Him”) which was circulated at least as far back as the year 2000 as part of a petition against drunk driving.

Snopes.com
Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

Editorial
  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
Operations
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes