Recently, presented a program entitled “Every 15 Minutes.” It’s a pretty rough, pretty raw vision of the consequences of drunk driving. Hopefully it affects kids long-term, hopefully they don’t make the mistake that so many before them have made.
I have intimately felt the repercussions of drunk driving. My dad spent a not insignificant portion of my early adolescence in Santa Rita, because he wouldn’t (or couldn’t) stop driving drunk. At the time I thought it was normal. Maybe it was a relief for me — what’s better for a kid, a dad at home drunk on the couch or a dad absent from the house completely?
I knew exactly what driving drunk could lead to, I basically had the “Every 15 Minutes” program playing in my living room, but later in life I went on to drive drunk, twice. I didn’t hurt anyone, I didn’t wrap my car around a tree, I didn’t get caught. That may sound flippant, it’s not, I was massively stupid and insanely lucky. Usually stupidity and luck don’t go hand in hand.
I asked the people who are in the CVLegends group to share their experiences with and around drunk driving. They really stepped up, with some powerfully harrowing and moving stories. It is a sensitive subject, and because of that, I am not going to use the contributors full names in this piece. No one asked for anonymity, but in light of the subject matter I feel it may be prudent.
Chris- Used to in my younger days, one night half passed out behind the wheel, luckily my ex gf managed to pilot the car from the passenger seat the few blocks to my house, the very next night driving by myself going way too fast drunk saw lights turn on behind me, managed to run and make it. after that realized all my luck was used up. since then if i have even a beer in me i wont get behind the wheel.
John- Columbus Day weekend, 1991. Got pulled at the Grove Way exit doing 95 in a 35. CHP saved my life that night by catching me. Spent the weekend in Santa Rita. Very not cool. Thank God no one got hurt or killed.
Joanne- Never drank, so not an issue for me, but I have a friend whose son was killed by a drunk driver when he was 16. Very sad.
Onica- When my mom was in high school they got drunk and the driver went off the road into the creek on Cull Canyon. One girl was thrown and died and later the driver jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge out of guilt. Whenever we went to Hideaway Ranch she'd tell me to not ever drink and drive.
Jared- Lost a friend on redwood rd in 99 because of drinking and driving.
Paula- I Love that high schools have implemented this. Shows teens the reality of it all. We are in So Cal and my 2 teens have witnessed "every 15 min" a few times and they come home and tell me how real it is and how they cried. Paramedics, police and fire trucks are all on scene. They announce over the loudspeaker who was taken. That person can not speak to anyone for the rest of the day and they have to wear a black robe. My oldest son has a friend in Ohio who lost his sister in 05. She was in the passenger seat. Her friend was driving drunk and wrapped them around a tree. The younger brother is now ruined for life. All because of this incident . He was the sweetest kid and great athlete. Now he is into drugs and alcohol. Very sad!
Nora Ann- I think the lucky ones are the ones who DO get the DUI's the 1st time they drive after ONE drink and NO accident or death. RIP Sabrina Barker who was killed by a drunk driver June 1971 corner of Redwood & Camino Alta Mira.
Julie- My bio-dad was an alcoholic manic-depressive (back before they knew what to call such problems), and he killed a family while driving drunk. He spent several years in jail up in Washington state, but that still didn't cure him of drinking and driving. I remember way too many times when my sister had to grab the wheel so we wouldn't crash, because my dad had passed out while driving drunk with us in the car. Sadly, my father took his own life by overdosing on prescription pills and alcohol the Christmas of 1982. I would love to be able to say that I never touched alcohol myself, but I did drink for a few years when I was a teenager, but never drove under the influence. I haven't touched alcohol since 1984, and I am thankful that none of my kids have ever wanted to try alcohol or drugs.
Carol- In High School there was a terrible accident on Highway 1 near Half Moon Bay. The driver was safe but 3 lives were changed forever and one elderly woman lost her life. All but the lady were drinking.......scared me from ever getting behind the wheel impaired.
Teri- At the high school in our area, the "star" athlete who got the part of the drunk driver really learned a big lesson! That part requires the student to go though the booking process at the police dept., as if were really happening. (The idea is the next day they come back and tell what it was like. Well, this kid forgot to take the METH out of his pocket before, so when they had him empty his pockets - OOPS! He was 18, booked for possession! In the E15M, the parents are supposed to get a call (like would happen in real life). Well, the got a call, but not the one they expected. Unfortunately, the school asked local media to cover the event, and they were there for this turn of events. Sadly, the school missed a great learning opportunity (even though it was all over the paper), and told the assembly the next day he wasn't there because he was overcome with emotions from the previous day!!! In the end the kid lost two full boat scholarships. Lesson learned.
Lorraine- My cousin Dick Green and his best friend, Mike Crane....both 19.....got killed drinking and driving when I was 18 and living in Sonora. They had stopped by my place to sleep it off, but alas, I wasn't home and they crashed on 120 just 20 minutes after leaving a note on my door. THey could never even determine who was driving.
Charles- I don't think that I would drive anymore even after 2 beers. It's just so risky these days with the DUI's and DWI's. Since I'm usually the person driving I rarely drink alcohol at all.
Cathy- I wrecked my first car, a 1978 Pinto driving drunk... got invited to a frat party in Hayward and I don't remember much because I blacked out.... but my friends were tugging on me telling me that it was 1am and we needed to go home. I came too sitting on some college frat guys lap! I ran into the left turn signal on A St, I remember the place and the cops and everything. Tough lesson to learn and thank GOD no one was hurt! I think I was about 19 at the time....
Kevin- Never drank, ALWAYS the designated driving growing up, all my friends parents used to think I was the bad influence, later in life they found out I was the reason there drunk teenagers got home!!
This article has been different than most I have done for Patch, way less fun, and way more important. If you have anything to add, please feel free to join the discussion at www.facebook.com/CVLegends I would like to end this with a huge thank you for everyone who shared and an even larger thank you for all the people who do the right thing and never get behind the wheel impaired.