The Doctor is IN

Keen Observations on Life … Whether You Need Them or Not

Drunk Drivers Never Learn


I am completely intolerant of drunk drivers.

Could be that since I was nearly killed by one my freshman year in college, my view is a bit skewed. In fact, the bastard longshoreman who smashed into my world at 18 not only counted my accident as his third, but he went on to get at least two more within a year’s time before I just stopped paying attention to him. But I digress …

I have been heartbroken over news this week of a local high school student killed in a drunk driving accident. Not only was she killed instantly, but her driver was a 16-year-old boy.

What the what? Where are his parents? Where did he get the alcohol? Why is his bail only set at $51,000–is that the price of a life?

The families of both of these children … yes, children … are irrevocably changed. Forever. And here I sit, 20 years later, still furious at the continued  sad state of drunk driving filling the roadways.

The News & Observer had an interesting article in this morning’s paper with the slug, “Others could be charged in Raleigh girl’s death.” Well, no shit … you think?

What if she didn’t go out with him Saturday night? What if they had just put on their seatbelts? What if his parents knew where he was and what he was doing. What if hers did?

My mother’s great-aunt always said, “if my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle” … meaning that ‘if’ doesn’t really get you anywhere. But in this case, it does: what if that had been my son in the driver’s seat, or in the passenger seat? What if he hasn’t learned through example and conversation the difference between right and wrong? What if he gets in a situation where he’s scared to call home for help, or a ride home?

One thing I’ve learned for certain over the last two decades: drunk drivers never learn. But the people in their lives should. Know where your children are. Know what they’re doing and with whom. Give them a specific time to be home and know how much money they’ve got with them. Know the types of conversations they have on the phone and through social media. Ask them why they might feel the need to sneak out. Parenting is a lifelong job, so don’t give me any grief about your 18-year-old being old enough to be an adult. Parent up! Be involved. Better your children think you’re a tool than for them to be dead. Or to kill someone else.

Rest in peace, Elizabeth Molloy. And to Garrett Lane Prince I say this: now you know the price a person can pay for a bad decision; for a moment of weakness or perceived coolness. May you find some peace in prison. And may both of your families find peace in the days, months and years to come.

And may your friends never have to duplicate the horrendous bad decision you so callously followed last weekend.

“Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to  console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For  it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are  pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
– St. Francis

Author: Dolly R. Sickles

Writer, mother, wife, adventurer, agent of change, advocate, ally, volunteer, instructor, and lover of chocolate. I write romance as Becky Moore, and children’s literature as Dolly Dozier. I'm a contributor with Frolic.Media, a book reviewer for BookPage, and I'm also an adjunct instructor in the Creative Writing Programs at Central Carolina Community College and Wake Technical Community College. And when I'm not writing or dreaming about writing, I'm out adventuring with my family.

3 thoughts on “Drunk Drivers Never Learn

  1. That’s a very good point, CT: nothing good happens after 2. I’m going to use that, because it’s very true. I enjoy following your musings online, and have found many good pieces of advice in your actions. 🙂 So sad for two families to lose children like this.

  2. this broke my heart dolly. my FIRST thought when i read the article was WHO allowed a 16, 17 yr old OUT AT 2AM??? where were the parents and what were they thinking? it is one thing to be friends with your child AFTER the formative years but you have GOT to be a parent. my son is 18 years old and in college but his curfew is STILL 1am when he is at home. i tell him all of the time, nothing good happens after 2 so be home before then. he doesn’t like it but he will appreciate it later and i don’t really care whether he likes me or not.
    you also have to know exactly who, what, when, and where your child is going to be. speak to the other parents and make sure that they have sense and some of the same methods or beliefs in parenting that you do. lots of parents think it is ok for their children to drink as long as it is on their property.
    i feel for both sets of parents because this did not have to happen.

  3. Wow. What a wonderful piece. Both famalies have paid a terrible price for one evening of being so completely irresponsible. Just a thought…..Never be afraid to say “no” to getting in the car with someone who has been drinking. Call your parents, call a friend, call the police if nothing else comes to mind. Don’t take a chance by losing your life or having to spend the rest of your life knowing that you were responsible for taking away your friend’s future……school, marriage, children, memories. All gone and for what?

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