Recently in the Daily News was a column by the excellent Scott DeSmit. He talked about the aftermath of a particular accident caused by DWI, and the very high price paid by the passenger on the motorcycle. It was quite illuminating. It allowed you a glimpse beyond the initial report of the accident to the consequences of it. It gives a clear picture of how callously and selfishly the driver acted after the accident. It begs the question that if he hadn't been so concerned about himself and gotten help for his passenger right away, maybe she wouldn't be as bad off as she is.
As I read, I felt very deeply for this woman and her family. What they now have to face is a lifetime sentence, which is a whole lot more than the man who was drunk and chose to drive got at sentencing. As I thought more and more about it though, I was struck by something which was never brought up in the column, and that was the choices of the woman hurt. This was a 47 year old woman- a mother of a then 20 year old daughter. Had she never had the discussion with her child about not getting into (or on) a vehicle with someone who had been drinking? I am certain she must have. Did this lesson not apply to her own behavior, then? Wasn't she thinking about her own safety and life that night? Why did she get on that motorcycle with her boyfriend knowing he had at least 4 DWI's in his lifetime? Was she not aware that he was drunk? Had she driven with him drunk before and thought nothing of it? These are the questions which had my mind churning.
Please do not misunderstand me, I have a deep sympathy for the woman and her family- no one deserves to have their life destroyed in this way. It was a horrible accident- but isn't it an accident that was completely preventable? Isn't it an accident that we warn our children about regularly? The type of accident caused by poor choices, not just dumb luck?
I write this entry not to blame the victim, but to illustrate to all of us how every choice, every decision can have lasting and horrific consequences. The bottom line is this- DO NOT drink and drive (even a little bit!) and don't EVER get in (or on) a vehicle with someone who has been drinking (even a little bit!) no matter how sober they may seem. The choice is yours, and the consequences can be fatal.