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A Marine Major, Running Fool, and All-Around Smart-Ass.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Diary of a Drunk Driver Release Date: November 29, 2006

If you do not read anything else this holiday, make sure you read this:

Diary of a Drunk Driver: I am a 46 year old Naval Officer stationed here at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. I have been on active duty for 27 years that included 16 years of service as enlisted. The following paragraphs lay out in detail a chronological chain of events that completely changed my life over the last year from Halloween 2005 to Halloween 2006. Please take a few minutes to read this diary and hopefully what happened to me will never happen to you:

A few points about myself I want to share before going into the details of my eventual arrest for Driving Under The Influence of Alcohol. I did not consume alcohol on a consistent basis. As a matter of fact, I only drank alcohol occasionally at home or occasional social gatherings. I am an avid long distance runner and have completed 3 marathons (Rock and Roll here in San Diego twice and the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.) I have two almost grown children and have very strong religious and moral beliefs. What happened to me can happen to anybody, anytime, anywhere if you are an alcohol user. I am not telling anyone not to use alcohol. I am saying however DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT, consume alcohol of any amount and operate a motor vehicle. Take a taxi, call a friend or walk home. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE!!!!!!!!

On 29 October 2005 at about 20:45 I was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol on Interstate 8 at the College Avenue exit. I had just left a social gathering where alcohol was served. While driving home, I was stopped by the San Diego Sheriff's department because my driving was impaired by the alcohol and I crossed over the white line that separated the lanes. I was issued a field sobriety test and failed.

I was placed under arrest at the scene and transported to the San Diego County Jail. Don't believe what you see on TV where the high priced lawyer comes and gets you out 15 minutes later. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. You will be there for a minimum of 8 to 10 hours. You will be searched, fingerprinted, photographed and then placed in a cell 20 X 20 with 40 of Your Best Friends that you never want to see again. The only thing in this room is a toilet in the corner. After the 8 to 10 hours and processing was complete I was released. I walked out of the jail on the streets of San Diego at about 0800 in the morning and came face to face with at least 75 homeless people. And I thought I had a bad night. NOW IS WHEN THE FUN BEGINS.

I had to attend a 3 months First Conviction Program at SDSU that included 12 1 hour classes each week for 12 weeks and 6 2 hour lectures for 6 weeks. I attended mandatory Mothers against Drunk Driving lecture in which 3 moms told the story of the loss of their children to drunk drivers. A very emotional and guilt ridden experience. I had to complete 10 days of community service picking up trash, cleaning parks, etc for the city. I had to hire an attorney to represent me and contact my insurance company. I went to court and received a substantial fine. The combined costs of this was:

First Conviction Program: $445
MADD: $25
Attorney: $1,700
Fine and Court Costs: $1,950
Total: $4,120

And I have even talked about the insurance. It does not matter who your insurance company is, they will cancel you and you will have to obtain a much less reputable insurance and much higher price. It will cost you thousands and thousands of dollars over the years.

Then the DMV, OH JOY. I lost my driver's license completely for 30 days and had a restricted license for 5 more months. And this was before I ever went to court. The DMV will revoke and suspend your license without a conviction. Driving is a privilege, not a right. Just being cited is justification. And then you have to pay to get it back. $195 is the cost.

I was selected for promotion to LCDR effective 1 February 2006. My promotion was withdrawn and I was removed from the promotion listing. I was processed for administrative separation and will retire involuntarily within the next 6 months. The reason I talk about this is because if I had not been arrested, I would have continued on active duty for 4 more years and reached a 30 year retirement. If I lived for 20 more years which is very reasonable, the loss of this LCDR pay at 30 years vice LT pay at 26 years will end up being approximately $600,000 over 20 years.

As you have noticed, I made a point of the monetary loss. The monetary loss PALES IN COMPARISON to the shame, emotional pain, grief and guilt that this will cause YOU, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR FRIENDS, YOUR CO-WORKERS and just about every person you come in contact with. It can COMPLETELY DESTROY YOUR LIFE as you know it. It will have an adverse affect on EVERY FACET OF YOUR LIFE. I am just so thankful that I DID NOT KILL SOMEONE while driving under the influence of alcohol. I have only detailed the highlights (if you can call them that) of this experience. There are many more smaller painful points but they are too many too mention. My hope is that for those of you who take the time to read this you will not drink and drive. If my pain keeps just 1 of you from drinking and driving and even more if it saves one life then it was worth the pain.

Thank You.

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  • At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope all the best for your future: I know you are a good person, and good things will come your way.

  • At 5:23 PM, Blogger Viper said…

    Oh, this wasn't me, someone sent this to me and I thought I'd share. But thanks anyway. :)


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