By Col. Garland H. WilliamsMarch 28, 2008
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Army News Service, March 25, 2008) -- During a recent church service, our chaplain asked us to pray for a Fort Belvoir family whose brother had come to visit. During the brother's stay, he was killed by a drunk driver.
The chaplain's call to prayer encouraged me to think about my own experiences with drunk drivers.
One of my resolutions for the new year is to not get hit again by drunk drivers. That seems an unusual resolution, sure, but my family was affected twice last year by drunk drivers.
In February 2007, a drunk driver leaving the officers club here hit my car which was parked in front of my house.
The driver was so drunk she didn't even know she'd hit anything. She actually tried to drive away. Everybody was lucky there were no injuries as a result of this accident, but that drunk driver caused $7,000 damage to my car, damaged the axel on her car, and still skidded 75 feet -- all in a 15 mph zone. All she could say to me as she was being handcuffed by the military police is Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cm sorry.Aca,!A?
Two days after Christmas, my family and I decided to go out to eat for dinner. On our way to the restaurant, the car we traveled in was rear-ended by a drunk driver.
This time, the damage to my car took second place to the more important results of that accident. My family was had been in the car, and both my children were injured -- each had a bad case of whiplash and one had a terrible headache from hitting the ceiling of the car.
The other driver -- the drunk driver -- blew a .34 on the breathalyzer test. And as with the last drunk driver I had encountered, all she could say to me as she was taken away in handcuffs by the police was "I'm sorry."
IAca,!a,,cm sorry but, Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cm sorryAca,!A? isnAca,!a,,ct good enough anymore.
This is my fifth command in 27 years of service and I canAca,!a,,ct tell you how many Article 15s and courts-martial I have been involved in with a charge of driving under the influence.
When are we going to wake up' If you think you can drink and then safely drive, you are wrong -- dead wrong.
My heart goes out to the family our chaplain asked us to pray for, and I wish I could find that driver to tell him or her that Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cm sorryAca,!A? isnAca,!a,,ct going to bring that gentleman back.
The bottom line is that drinking and driving is dangerous and a dumb idea -- so donAca,!a,,ct do it.