***image1***(Editor’s Note: The following commentary was submitted by a KMC individual charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.)
I looked myself over, no blood, shattered glass everywhere and a large object resting between the driver and passenger seats. What just happened? Is everyone alright? Good. Let me backtrack a few hours to piece this disaster together.
It was just another Saturday, or so I thought. A friend called and wanted to know if I wanted to go downtown and have a couple of drinks. “Why not,” I thought. “What are a couple of drinks going to hurt?”
I got into my car for what would be the last time I’d be able to drive for a while. I picked my friend up and we headed for one of the bars downtown. We arrived, met with a few friends and had a couple of drinks. My girlfriend came down from a bar up the street and told me that she and her friends were going to another bar a couple of blocks away. I told her after I finished my drink we’d head that way.
It was getting late, and after a few drinks, I was ready to head to the house. I felt fine – no slurring, staggering or other warning signs that usually made me think twice about getting behind the wheel. I guess I was holding my alcohol well that night – or so I thought.
On the way out of the bar, I saw a few folks I had met at the first bar. I knew that they lived fairly close to me, so I offered to give them a ride. The distance I would drive to take my friend and the others home would be no more than 10 or 15 miles and shouldn’t take more than 20 or 25 minutes. But little did I know that this ride would end far sooner than I had intended it to.
“Are you all right to drive, man?” they asked. “Yeah, I feel fine,” I said. But was I? We had driven no more than a mile when it happened. I approached a curve in a construction area at a reasonably fast speed. Mistake No. 1 – I drank too much to drive. Mistake No. 2 – I took my eyes off the road to see what my friends were doing. Mistake No. 3 – I turned my steering wheel to the right, but nothing happened. We were already airborne … and when your wheels aren’t in contact with the road they don’t turn.
When we hit the ground, part of a wooden guardrail penetrated the front windshield and didn’t stop until it reached the trunk. Miraculously no one in the car was injured. We helped each other out of the car and again ensured that no one was hurt.
After that, the world went silent, until I heard the sirens that is. The rest of the night involved police, paperwork and regret.
The point I’m trying to get across in this unfortunate story is obvious – When you hear someone tell you something very important, something that is meant to keep you alive, safe, and out of trouble, do you listen? Or do you just hear it?
I wish I would have listened, but now let me be an example of what might happen if you don’t listen. What happens now? I don’t know for sure. But no matter the consequences, my friends and I are still here, alive and well. And for that I am thankful.
Please, don’t drink and drive. And if you catch yourself shrugging those words off and saying it’ll never happen to you, at least remember the examples that individuals have set before you. Maybe this will change your mind. If not, you might be in for a long night or worse, a last night.
Don‘t take a chance and drive home intoxicated. Call Airman Against Drunk Driving at 0631-536-2233 or 489-2233, for a ride home.