Last week I received a very disturbing phone call. It was a colleague of mine from California whom I had worked closely with for three years. We had started a new group at our company and had made it thrive. The team consisted of 5 individuals were separated across the country and had never crossed paths in our very large company. We also had a dynamic boss, a boss that would go to the mat for anyone of her employees. This was the closest group of people I had ever worked with. We would talk almost every day helping each other out, we would only see each other once, maybe twice a year tops. We were a close unit and they were and still are considered my “work family”. After the death of our boss and corporate restructuring, we separated and sent in completely different areas of the company. If we speak once every few months we are lucky. I digress.
The reason for the call was to tell me that the daughter of one of our teammates had been killed in a car accident in Indianapolis where the driver had been drinking. She was 18. My heart immediately sank. As a father I could not even imagine what my friend was going through. No parent should ever bury their child, no matter what the circumstance is. The call dampened my day. I mailed a card to my friend and then I began to look up the accident in the Indianapolis newspapers. I was curious to know the story and how bad the crash really was, in short, it was not good on all fronts. The car was completely destroyed after hitting a tree, my friend’s daughter was pronounced dead at the scene, and the driver? The driver was pulled from the wreckage by local authorities, was well enough to take a breathalyzer test at the scene and blew a 0.18 blood alcohol content. That is more than twice the legal limit, at 5 a.m.
WTHR-TV in Indianapolis reported that the driver told officers at the scene that the last thing he could remember was “drinking at home watching South Park” and then woke up in his car surrounded by police and firefighters. The driver also told police he didn’t know who his passenger was. WOW! No other words can be expressed other than WOW!
The worst part of it was that it was the driver’s second OWUI offense. He had been convicted of drunk driving back in 2009, he’s 21 now! How is he able to drive a car when he was arrested for drunk driving before he was even legal to have a drink? How is it that the drunk driving laws across the USA are such a sham that almost every time an accident like this happens, it is always not the driver’s first offense, and the driver is the one who doesn’t get a scratch on them? I know part of the responsibility has to lie at the feet of the young girl who should have used better judgment in getting into a car with someone who had obviously been drinking. But if the justice system had done its job before it may not have been an issue.
At what point are lawmakers going to take drunk driving serious? The ads on TV are cute and all, but the reality of the situation is that a family is destroyed and this young man not only gets to live with this, he will almost certainly get an opportunity to do this again. We need to stop protecting the criminals and maybe one day an innocent girl will be remembered for what she accomplishes, and most importantly her killer.
I have not spoken to my friend yet. It is way too early and also I wouldn’t even know what to say. I just want my friend to know that I will pray for her and her family every day and will do anything that is asked of me to help them get through this. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
R.I.P. DRB – Gone way too early
Coming right atcha