Maybe this subject hits a little too close to home for me, or maybe it’s because I feel that justice was not won. Either way I’m sadden and sicken by the total disregard to justice that a 16 year old in Texas got, after his friends and him, STOLE beer, drank until they couldn’t even stand straight, and then proceeded to get behind the wheel of a car to which they ended up killing 4 and seriously injuring two others.
My first experience with a friend who did not survive a drunk driving accident was when I was a senior in high school. His name was Adrian, and his cousin’s name was Jesus. They were night managers at the Burger King I worked for. I was 17, already on my own, in my own apartment, paying all of my own bills, while finishing high school, and my after school activities such as band, track, etc. I had just clocked on for my shift, was making my rounds to put the drive thru in the shape I liked to work; clean, organized, etc, when the store owner walked in, and you could tell he had been crying. Philip was the assistant manager was getting upset because his shift had ended and Adrian and Jesus had not shown up yet for their shift. Mind you this was 4pm in the afternoon. Roger came to us, and told us that we were shutting down the store for an hour and having a store meeting, that he called all employees in. We made signs saying that we were shut down for an hour, closed and locked the doors.
Once everyone had filed in and sat down, Roger very slowly in a trembling voice told us that Adrian and Jesus were killed two hours earlier by a drunk driver running a red light at 91st ave and Indian School road. I don’t know why, or what made me tell him to stop joking, but I did, and I quickly dialed Adrians number; over and over and over again it went to voicemail. We were really like the misfit family at our little Avondale Burger King. We were all close, all hung out after shifts, all helped one another out. I honestly can’t remember much more because it all became such a fog. I remember somehow showing up at his wake, memorial and funeral, but I don’t know any details. I can’t even say when it had finally felt like I had moved on, because I don’t know if I ever did. I still think about Adrian and Jesus from time to time. Adrain was like a older protective brother to me. Any time his family was going to discard furniture, sheets, towels, etc, he would bring it by my apartment and make sure I had everything I needed. His laugh was contagious, and I can still often hear it in my head.
The second deadly experience I ever had with a drunk driver was my friend TJ from high school. We were all, already graduated. I think maybe a year at most? I wont go into the specifics of this one, because TJ was the one that was said to be drunk, and he lost his own life, at his own hands. Luckily no one else had been hurt.
I was hit by a drunk driver at 1130 am one day on my way from my house to see my husband for lunch. My car was totaled. If he had hit me one inch further back, my car would have exploded with me in it. Luckily I was too busy messing with the radio to notice my light turned green, when he ran the red light.
My most recent fatal attraction to drunk driving was my good friend Ron. Like Adrain, Ron was like that big brother figure in my life. He was without a doubt there for me when I needed him, even when he didn’t have to be, or sometimes couldn’t be, he still was. He was on his way home from work one night, when a kid and his friends driving drunk, ran a red light at 51st ave and Indian School rd, and killed Ron. I had talked to Ron the day before about his wedding ideas for him and his fiance, and about him wanting to get family pictures done with his children, his fiance and her child. I didn’t even get a call, or a text. I saw it from a mutual friend on facebook that Ron had died in a car accident. Of course I didn’t believe it. Again, I called Ron’s phone repetitively. Each time I got no answer. Then I saw that his brother posted about his Memorial service, and I had to see for myself if this was a hoax or the real deal. Sure enough it was the real deal. There laid Ron in his casket with his Army uniform on. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked, stunned, and could barely breathe. Ron seemed to attract all of the misfits as well, and took them in as family. He loved people, and he cared about people. He had a big bleeding heart, which got him into trouble sometimes. I still hear him asking if I want to go fishing, or to the shooting range. I still hear him yelling at the tv when there was an MMA fight on. I still see his goof ball grin on his face, the one that says “I’m being a big corny terd, and what are you going to do about it…” I can still recall our many conversations about life, love, and helping one another through our dark hours in our relationships with our significant others. Even when I wanted to give up on my husband, Ron helped me to keep going, and trust that it would get better, and that we would make it out of the darkness. This loss was the hardest. I don’t think there is another human being on this world, outside of my husband that is, that knew all of my deepest darkest secrets in my closet.
So, yes, maybe I’m tainted by my experience, and maybe my “rough” and hard life further complicates and dilutes my opinion of this Rich Texas boy, but 4 years probation is hardly a punishment for drunk driving.
My father got a DUI on a bicycle a few years back. He was riding his bike on the public sidewalk, in the middle of the night, in Avondale, no cars to be seen, or people out walking. He was stopped and given a DUI on a bike, and received 6 months in jail, and 3 years probation. He didn’t kill anyone, injure anyone, nor did he get behind the wheel of a car. He was riding a BICYCLE, yes a two wheeled BIKE! Down a residential street about 1 block from home, at 3am, in AVONDALE! He got jail and probation! This rich, snooty kid from Texas, (which by the way, has stricter DUI laws than AZ does), only get’s 4 years probation? He severely injured two and killed four others!
I posted about this in my mother’s site. My jaw has dropped reading some of the responses. Some say he’s “too young” to know right from wrong. He’s “too young” to spend so much time in jail. I’m sorry? Did he NOT have to take the driver’s test to get his license? I’m pretty sure most if not all driver’s tests are suppose to state something about it being ILLEGAL to drink and drive, that the punishment is jail time???? I’m having a very difficult time seeing how a 16 year old doesn’t know right from wrong in this situation? My 3 year old preschooler knows that drinking and driving is bad, and that you can go to jail for a long time if you drink and drive. He even makes his die cast cars go to jail if they are “drinking” and driving. He says that they only have cars version of juice and that’s gas, because he doesn’t want them to go to jail. I’m sorry, but if my 3 year old preschooler is capable of rational, clear thinking, and knowing that it is WRONG to drink and drive, than by all means a darn 16 year old, who has TAKEN A DRIVING TEST knows that it is WRONG and punishable by jail! Especially with all of these “Don’t Drink and Drive” billboards, ads, commercials, and events at schools with DARE. No, you can not convince me that this privileged 16 year old did not know that drinking and driving was illegal and wrong. You can’t convince me that he is too young. IF YOU ARE OLD ENOUGH TO DRIVE, and have that responsibility to do so, then you are old enough to be held accountable, and punished if you break the law.
IF, it had been a teen that was middle class or lower class, and not rich, would the judge have made the same ruling? I highly doubt it. The judge would have slapped that teen with the max sentence he could have, to teach “others” a lesson. So why is this rich kid any different? HE KILLED 4 PEOPLE AND SEVERELY INJURED 2 OTHERS! Hello! That’s MANSLAUGHTER! What’s the mandatory min? Oh yeah, 10 years! In PRISON!
Furthermore, if the court is going to rule that this teen is getting off because of his parent’s “Affluence” then they need to charged with accessory of the crime manslaughter. I honestly want to hear what the parents have to say about this. Daddio are you proud of your son now? He just used your money to get off scott free and then BLAMED YOU for being a terrible parent, not teaching him right from wrong, and that money can buy his troubles away.
One thing Scott and I have agreed on, is that NO MATTER how little or how much money we have, earn, acquire, etc. that our children will earn everything they get. They simply will not get a car on their 16th birthday unless they have shown they are responsible, they have a job, good grades, after school activities, and good attitude, plus pay for their own insurance, and registration. IF they get a ticket, we wont be paying it. They will have to learn to pay that on their own. Their car is their responsibility. Doesn’t mean that we can’t afford to get them a car, just means, we are not handing them anything, outside of basic needs and a few small wants. A car is a HUGE responsibility they must earn. We feel the same way about cell phones. Scott and I grew up just fine without a cell phone, and earning our own money for our own cars. Taught us to be responsible. Taught us that we were held accountable for our actions. Sure, my children are young right now, and who knows what will happen in the next 10 plus years, doesn’t change our view that they must earn these responsibilities and privileges. It’s simple here, they don’t earn it, and prove themselves trustworthy, they don’t get it. We’ve started teaching them that now. THEY KNOW that when we are in the store, that just because they want it, doesn’t mean we will get it for them. I say no, more than I say yes.
If I were this teens mother, in court I would have told the judge, to lock him up, and throw away the key until he learned his lesson. That doesn’t MEAN I wouldn’t love my son any less. That just means, I wont have a son that doesn’t pay the consequences for his actions. As a mother I would be applaud at a judge that let him off scott free, especially if he injured and killed people. I understand that 20 years or longer is a long time for a 16 year old, however, they know drinking and driving is illegal. More so they committed other felonies before this, they stole the beer, and drank underage! Are you telling me that a 16 year old doesn’t know that stealing and drinking underage is illegal? The LEGAL DRINKING AGE is 21! HELLO!
I have a friend who’s mother keeps bailing our her brother every time he’s in trouble with the law. She has yet to see that she continues to enable him and is teaching him that he doesn’t have to pay the price for his actions. If it were me, I’d say leave him in Jail. Maybe next time he would think about his actions before doing them.
No, daddies money bought his freedom, and it’s sad, because these families will not get the justice they deserve. These families wont get the closure they need. Worst of all, this teen will most likely re offend, because he knows that daddy’s money will once again come to the rescue.
The only lesson here is that Daddy’s money can buy your freedom. Which is sad, because other “affluence” teens will see this and think they too can get away with murder.
The link to the story if you want it: