It was an early Sunday morning, unlike any other day. The sun had just peeked up over the horizon as my brother, Robbie, was on his was to visit our mother. What he didn’t know was this would be his last morning ever.
As Robbie got on to the highway, he noticed an SUV swerving going the other way. The police reports that we read indicated that the person driving that car was falling asleep at the wheel due to a night of heavy drinking. Since this was on the South Jersey parkway, there was (unfortunately) no median. The driver of the SUV lost control and ran through the grass dividing the two lanes, heading straight for Robbie’s car – crash. Instantly both cars flipped and Robbie was thrown from the car into the nearby woods.
I can still remember exactly where I was when I got the call. I’d just dropped Tyler off at soccer camp for the day and walked in the door to hear by phone ringing. That call changed my life forever.
As I write this, I have to remind myself that this isn’t to just tell Robbie’s story but, rather, to send a message to everyone that reads my blog – friends, family, colleagues. We have all had those nights where we went out drinking and maybe had one or two drinks but decided to drive. I’m writing this to tell you, please don’t drive after drinking, even if it was only two to three drinks. You see, the person driving the car that killed my brother only had two to three drinks the night before. But combined with a hard day of work, no sleep for 16 hours, and having recently gotten over a cold, he was fatigued. Driving fatigued is just as bad as driving drunk – it slows your reactions, or worse, you can fall asleep behind the wheel.
A good friend of mine from college, Stephen Feldman, is a DUI attorney and criminal lawyer out of Chicago. He told me that the majority of his clients are not the wild and crazy alcoholics that you think get in the car and drive. The majority of individuals that cause serious accidents from drinking and driving are normal people who accidentally combined small amounts of alcohol with being tired, long days, or cold medicine.
I know it can be tempting to only have a drink or two after a hard days work and drive home. But please, when you’re about to order that drink, think of my story and think about the consequences…