Driving While Intoxicated

Submitted by: Brenda Williams

When I used to be a police officer, I used to dread working the night shifts because inevitably, I knew that I would arrest someone for an offense related to alcohol and drunk driving. When people think about drinking alcohol, they usually think about the good times that they have with their friends when they are out at clubs or sports bars. They don’t think about the potential trouble that drinking too much alcohol can get them into.

Once, when I was out on patrol as a police officer, a call went out in which someone had reported seeing a car drive right off the side of the road into an embankment. It was around 2:00a.m. on a Saturday morning, so I knew almost immediately that there was a great chance that it was going to be related to alcohol consumption. I quickly mapped out the location of the call and placed myself en route to it. When I got there, sure enough, there was a car neatly planted in a relatively deep ditch on the side of the road. Standing next to the ditch was a young man who looked no older than sixteen years old. He was muttering incoherently on his cell phone. I sighed. When I looked around, there were a few construction workers who were working a late night shift on some road construction right next to where this gentleman had run his car off the side of the road. I approached them, and asked them what had happened. It turned out that they were the ones who had called in the accident.


The young man had a green light to go straight or make a turn, but he kept going straight- even after the road clearly made a curve to the left. When I eventually spoke to the young man, the first thing I smelled was alcohol. I took in the fact that he was slurring his speech, had wet himself and could barely stand straight. Because of these fairly obvious observations, I skipped over the usual sobriety tests and asked him directly how much he had had to drink. He told me, quite proudly, that his friends weren’t supposed to let him drink more than a 6-pack . Here this kid was, about to get into serious trouble, and for what?

When I arrested him, he was still pretty out of it. He was a freshman in college, and was underage. He didn’t have any sort of criminal record before this, but he was well on his way now. And as he started to sober up down at the jail after blowing almost twice the legal limit, he started to cry. I spoke very matter-of-factly to him saying, You should be crying because you’re happy to be alive. You should feel incredibly lucky that you didn’t hurt or kill anyone. I hope that you learn something from this experience and know never to repeat the mistake. And as I said those words, I couldn’t help but wonder how many other people even stopped to ponder the stupid decisions that they make when it comes to drinking alcohol and getting behind the wheel of a car.

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