I Was Nearly Killed by a Drunk Driver

It's pretty much common sense to agree people shouldn't drink and drive. Yet, people do and if you pull up your county bookings online (public record) you can find people are getting charged with this everyday.

My family has been wrought with the pain and consequences of this. My mom has buried more than one family member due to someone else on the road driving while intoxicated. And last week, it could have been me she had to bury.

It was Friday evening, it was around 8:30pm and the sun was inching closer to the horizon. I was listening to my music while out for my workout. I was on my normal circuit for five miles, enjoying the evening.

Unexpectedly, a driver coming toward me ran off the road, popped his tire and didn't stop, hit the curb again, popped another tire, and slammed full blast into a light pole, taking the light pole down. The only thing that prevented the pole from crashing into the roof of his vehicle was it got snagged on a power line, which was now dangling very low over our heads.

It probably happened in the span of 5 seconds but I saw it all in slow motion, realizing if my pace had been about 10 seconds faster he would have crushed me between his car and the light post. But I was eerily calm. I got the guy's attention, made sure he got out of his car, and lured him away from his smoking vehicle and the dangerous power line.

The man even from 10 feet away smelled so strongly of alcohol I almost couldn't stand it. He made eye contact with me but didn't see me, was speaking words but not really there. I called 911 and waited with him until the police arrived.

I have never been so mad at someone, and yet I had to help him. I have never wanted to physically attack someone so badly that was in my charge for care temporarily. This man, who probably today is somewhere, hopefully sober, contending with the consequences of his choices, almost certainly does not remember me. But I will never forget him.

After leaving this man in the care of the police, I left, resuming my workout, albeit without much enthusiasm. There was a period of shock, now that the emergency had passed, that I had come frighteningly close to being killed by this man. But as the shock died off over the next 24 hours, I was left with an anger that is not always on my mind, but when it is, it is as deeply felt as it was that same hour.

Maybe this man just lost his job. Maybe he lost a parent. Or maybe his child is sick. Maybe his wife left him. Maybe he is bankrupt. I can think of a ton of reasons why someone might get that drunk.

However, NONE of those reasons give him an excuse to get behind the wheel and put others at risk. He could barely walk, he could barely form a sentence to me. Whatever was going on in his life, he had no right to put me and others at risk that way. What an insanely selfish and awful thing to do.

I will eventually get over my anger. But everyday, 29 people die as a result of an alcohol related accidents. These are 100% preventable deaths. They are an inexcusable, horrible waste of human life! I will get over my anger, but these 29 people a day won't have the chance to feel anger or forgive anymore.

Let me be blunt: if you get behind the wheel of a car while impaired, you are a selfish asshole. There is no excuse. 

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