Sunday, January 22, 2017

Drunk Driving

I rarely post content here that is not my own, but one of my friends on social media narrowly avoided a tragic automobile accident recently, and her account of the ordeal is so powerful that it demands more widespread circulation. Please take this message to heart, "share" it, and intervene whenever there is potential for an intoxicated human being to get behind a wheel.

The aftermath of the accident © Laura Lillie Saenz

"First - everyone involved is ok. Normally I wouldn't share something like this, but my reasoning is important. I can't convey how close we were; I'm not sure how we were not involved, but for the hand of God. The kids and I watched all this unfold. We watched the driver crawl out the window, and his passenger stumbled out to the ground.

My son was getting out of the car before I even stopped; and went to her and he sat with her while the driver ran. I checked on the elderly gentleman in the truck, while calling 911. The girls patiently sat in the truck for hours. As we sat with the young lady whose face was cosmetically damaged, [with] at least 2 teeth out, she told us she was sorry.

You see, they were drunk. Really drunk! It was 6 PM and they were coming back from a Mexican restaurant in town; she said she had 9 beers (she barely weighed 100 pounds), that they were drunk, but she let him drive her car. He left her laying on the side of a ditch, for strangers to care for her. I asked her to talk to us until paramedics got there, and she laid there talking to me about her 4-year-old daughter and her mom. I just kept looking at my son and my truck that safely held my babies and thanking God for our safety.

But, as we waited and watched first responders do their jobs, I couldn't help but be angry too. There is NO excuse for anyone to ever get in a vehicle and drive after drinking. If you have a habit of drinking - even one or two beers - and getting in your car, you need to get a picture of your kids, your wife, your mom, and put them on your dash. You need to know your story may not end as well as this one. This young momma could have very easily been taken from her daughter tonight. That elderly man, was probably a grand-daddy, a husband, and loved.

I have zero patience for intoxicated drivers. You are endangering the lives of other people around you, and could forever ruin the lives of so, so many people, robbing all future generations of a chance to know a loved one. Parents, please, tell your teenagers that if they are ever in a situation where they have been drinking, or a friend has been drinking, tell them you will come get them no questions asked (until the morning anyway). Tell them repeatedly. Tell them in their 20's that if they are out partying you'll pay for a cab ride home. Let them know they can come to you in that moment. Be mad at them later, but be thankful they're alive.

If you have a friend out drinking, maybe right now, call them, tell them you'll come get them, offer to be a designated driver or pitch in for a cab. But, don't let them, or yourself, get in a car if you have had anything to drink.

I am happy to say that just after they told us we could leave, one of the first officers on the scene came and thanked us and told us they got the guy. I am thankful that these people involved will be able to go home and hug their loved ones again." - Laura Lillie Saenz

We drink to celebrate, we drink to drown our sorrows. We are given far too many excuses to drink and not nearly enough reasons not to. Drinking alcohol is never, ever an acceptable coping skill. One could argue convincingly that we should not drive a vehicle during any emotional highs or lows, let alone under the influence of substances that exacerbate those emotions. The NFL playoffs finish today. The Super Bowl is in a couple more weeks. Do not let fanaticism end up in fatality.

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