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Every 15 Minutes™ Program Presented At Emmetsburg High School

By Staff | Apr 12, 2011

Every 15 Minutes was a reality check for Emmetsburg High School students last week. Students were unaware as a series of tragedies evolved Wednesday and Thursday.

Every 15 minutes someone dies as the result of an alcohol-related collision. The Grim Reaper took Emmetsburg High School students out of classrooms, away from friends and family. It didn’t take long for students to view reality.

Every 15 Minutes is a national program. The ultimate goal is to get teenagers to think about making mature decisions when it comes to drinking and driving, and to evaluate how their decisions can impact family, friends and many others.

“Our involvement with the Every 15 Minutes program originated with the Palo Alto County Health System/Ambulance Service,” said Sheryl Darling, EMS Coordinator. “As a representative, I attended coordinator training offered by the 15 minutes program as part of a grant they offered. We then applied for grant funds through the Love Our Kids Grant Project, sponsored by the Iowa Department of Public Health. When applying for the grant it was a collaborative effort between the Ambulance Service, Emmetsburg Police Department, Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office, Palo Alto County Health System and Emmetsburg Fire Department. The grant dollars helped defray the initial costs of the program.”

Already, feedback from the students has been positive, according to Darling.

“What I’m hearing is exactly what we were looking for. The students need to think through the choices they make and weigh the possible consequences,” she said.

Professionals from numerous organizations were involved in the Every 15 Minute program: Palo Alto County Health System, Palo Alto County Ambulance Service, Emmetsburg High School, Palo Alto County Sheriff, Emmetsburg Police Department, Emmetsburg Fire Department, Mercy Airlife, Palo Alto County Attorney’s Office, Emergency Management, City of Emmetsburg, Iowa Lakes Community College, Wickman’s Auto, Hope Haven and Joyce Funeral Home.

Terry Snavely provided building space for a retreat held Wednesday night and the American Red Cross IGL Chapter provided cots for the overnight retreat. Food donations came from Subway, Dairy Queen, Fareway, Food Pride, Pizza Ranch, Casey’s and McNally’s.

A special print edition was provided to the students, with donations from The Cornerstone Pub, Shannon and Renee Iverson; The Office, B.T. and B.J. Buhrow; Chuck Whittenburg Distributing, Inc., Spencer; Iowa Lakes Community College Student Senate; and staff of The Reporter & The Democrat.

In today’s Reporter, we offer a glimpse of Every 15 Minutes at Emmetsburg High School, with a compilation of stories by Dan Voigt, Lori Hall and Jane Whitmore, and photos by Dan Voigt, Lori Hall, Jane Whitmore and Kathy Merrill.

Every 15 Minutes

Wednesday, April 6

8:30 to 11:30 a.m.: The Grim Reaper went into classrooms at 15-minute intervals to take a student. That student returned to class with face painted white and black around their eyes. They became the “living dead” and could not communicate with classmates.

12:51: “There has been an accident” was announced and students proceeded to the crash site.

1:05 p.m.: Ambulance, Fire and Police arrived at the scene.

Alcohol is being cited as a primary factor in a two-vehicle crash that claimed the lives of two Emmetsburg High School students Wednesday afternoon, April 6. A T-Bone-type collision at the intersections of Fifth and Adams Streets in Emmetsburg left one youth dead at the scene, with one youth being transported by helicopter to a trauma center. A third youth had to be extricated from one of the vehicles and later died from his injuries. The driver of the second vehicle escaped serious injuries and was later arrested by Police.

The Emmetsburg Fire Department had to use the Jaws of Life to extricate 18-year old Joshua Kibbie from the back seat of the Carlson vehicle. He was transported to the Palo Alto County Hospital for treatment of multiple injuries but died later from those injuries. A second passenger in the Carlson vehicle, 17-year old Jordan Bragg, was airlifted from the accident scene by Mercy Air Medical helicopter and taken to Mercy Trauma Center in Mason City for treatment of her injuries. Jacob Carlson was pronounced dead at the scene by Deputy Palo Alto County Medical Examiner Sheryl Darling.

The driver of the second vehicle, Brady Berkland, was placed under arrest by the Emmetsburg Police Department and was charged with Operating While Intoxicated, First Offense, Failure to Yield at a Stop Sign, Possession of Alcohol Under the Legal Age and Open Container of Alcohol. Berkland escaped serious injury in the crash and was placed in jail pending a court appearance.

1:30 p.m.:?Life flight arrived to transport the critical patient.

1:40 p.m.: Sobrity test given to drunk driver.

2 p.m.: Students went to the Hospital scene where the ambulance crew brought in the critical student and CPR was started. The drunk driver was brought into the hospital scene to be tested.

At the end of the day, the drunk driver was taken to the Palo Alto County Jail, fingerprinted and booked. The Livind Dead were escorted to a night-long retreat where they took part in problem solving and teen building exercises involving making positive choices.

Every 15 Minutes

Thursday, April 7

8:30 a.m.:?Plea and Sentencing Trial with Victim Impact Statements

In a case where there were no winners, one Emmetsburg teenager will spend 25 years in prison for causing the deaths of two others and the serious injury of one.

Brady Berkland, the 17-year old son of Roger and Cathy Berkland of Emmetsburg, changed his plea from “not guilty” to “guilty” as part of a plea agreement made during the plea and sentencing trial on Apr. 7. Magistrate John Kauer, Third Judicial District, Iowa, presided.

Berkland was charged with two counts of Homicide by Vehicle, a Class B Felony, and one count of Serious Injury by Vehicle, a Class D Felony. He was also charged with the Simple Misdemeanors of Possession Under the Legal Age, Possession of Alcohol as a Driver, Failure to Yield, and Speeding. Melanie Summers Bauler, a defense attorney privately retained by the Berkland family, represented Berkland.

Following these statements, Magistrate Kauer found Berkland guilty of the charges against him. Berkland was sentenced to 25 years on each count, which will be served concurrently.

Berkland was required to meet restitution requirements including court costs and $150,000 restitution per victim (total of $300,000). He must also surrender his driver’s license, complete a course for drunk drivers, submit to an evaluation for treatment of substance abuse, and receive recommended rehabilitation services.

10 a.m.: Funeral

Funeral service for Joshua David Kibbie was held at the Emmetsburg High School Auditorium. Pastor Judith DePue officiated. Pianist was Kelley Fog and soloist was Dave Fog singing “On Eagles Wings.”?”The Irish Blessing” was sung by the Octet Chorus:?Adam Kerr, Tyler Henderson, Ryan Kliegl, Derek Henkelvig, Jake Hutchison, Austin Oppenheimer, Arthur Heldt and Max Johnson.

Honorary casket bearers were Emmetsburg High School Class of 2011. Casket bearers were Dave Morey, Jeff Morey, Bill Huberty and Jim Kibbie.

11:15 a.m.:?Speaker on Real Life Experience, Kathy Mehan of Emmetsburg.

It was a day of reality.