It was a beautiful fall afternoon, when some teenagers decided to skip school. Their plan was to go to the park and enjoy an afternoon of underage drinking. The teenagers decided to leave the park. They drove down a country road oblivious of the stop sign ahead. The teenagers plowed into a pickup truck.
My grandfather, who was a veteran of the Korean War, was killed in that pickup truck. He was with my grandmother, but thankfully she was not seriously injured. I was two years old, so I did not get a chance to know him. I am told by everyone who knew him that I missed out on a lot. The only memory I have of him is when he told his grandchildren we could have all the Tums we wanted to have, telling us the Tums were “candy.”
That day changed the lives of many people. Our family lost a big part of who we were. My grandpa was the one to go to for advice; he was kind, funny, and could always put a smile on anyone’s face.
The seventeen-year-old, who was charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, had to serve three months in the county jail without school or work release privileges and the next three months were served with released privileges. She had to pay for court fees, the tombstone and other burial expenses, and had to reimburse the insurance company. She had to do eighty hours of community service, go to counseling, and she was on probation for five years.
All of those things could have been prevented if she chose not to drink and drive. Thousands of people continue to drink and drive killing innocent people every year; about one person is kill every thirty minutes in the United States from drunk drivers. I do not believe underage drinkers realize the impact drinking and driving has on their life and on others. Nearly eighty percent of high school students admitted to trying alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant that slows down the brain and body, the speech is slurred, the vision is blurred, balance is lost, and confusion comes along with many other unpleasant side effects. I fell that her punishment was not enough for taking such a great man away from my family and me.
I believe that underage drinking should not be so acceptable to do. This seventeen-year-old girl chose to drink alcohol, which impaired her judgement, and she chose to drink and drive. Studies show that underage drinkers have a higher risk of fatal crashes over adults because of their lack of driving skills. I grew up without my loving grandpa because she made the choice to drink and drive.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.