Why I Don’t Drink & Drive

All of the uproar on the Casey Anthony verdict got me thinking. I have refrained from commenting on the verdict because I don’t know the facts or what transpired in that courtroom. I do believe if Casey Anthony truly is guilty she will be found out and punished for her actions in a court of law.

But I am also a strong believer in karma and I think people do really get what they deserve. I’m going to tell you a more personal story then I usually do… This issue really hits close to home and explains why I feel VERY strongly about drinking and driving. That’s one reason why I’m so happy to live in a city like Toronto where public transit and cabs are so readily available and I don’t need to worry about getting a bit tipsy and having to drive myself home.

In the summer of August 1995, I lived in a small townhouse complex in Malton. I was 2 doors down from my best friend, and across the street from 2 of my parents best friends. My parent’s friends had a 17 year old son named Mike and although we didn’t run in the same crowds (I was only 8 years old at the time!) I hung out with his family a lot and frequently watched him play ball-hockey with the other boys his age in the park attached to our complex. He babysat me and my brother a few times and I adored the puppy-love relationship between him and his girlfriend, Anna. I thought they were both so beautiful.

Mike and Anna in 1995

Mike’s grandparents had a cottage on Rice Lake, near Peterborough. We spent a lot of time at the cottage and I learned to fish and bury my head in a good book until the sun set and the bonfire started. Mike spent a lot of time at the cottage too, hanging out with his friends who lived in neighbouring cottages or around the lake.

In the summer of 1995, Mike was walking home with two twin sisters he was friends with. They walked the dark, country dirt-roads home together. On their walk home, a truck went by them. The driver was a friend of theirs. He swerved towards the three teens as a joke. Mike saw what was happening and pushed the girls out of the way, saving their lives. He was hit and although I never learned the details, it wasn’t good. He died a few hours later after being airlifted to a Toronto hospital.

The driver was charged and went to court. He had his license taken away for a long time but he barely served any time in jail because of his time spent in pre-trial detention. Mike’s parents fought for his license to be taken away for a really long time so that he couldn’t hurt anyone else.

Just a couple years ago I heard news of the drunk driver who had killed Mike. He was partying on Rice Lake, in the same community he killed Mike in. He was driving a boat and had too much to drink. He lost control while taking a sharp turn and fell over the side. As the boat went over him, the motor cut off both of his legs.

It took a long time, but karma really was a bitch. He may have kept his life, but we will forever be reminded of the life he took away, and what his poor choices involving alcohol brought him.

Mike wasn’t so lucky. He paid for someone else’s poor choices, which is why I will never make the choice to get behind the wheel after I’ve had anything to drink. Mike taught my family a really important lesson, but I really wish we didn’t have to learn it so soon, if at all.

Mike in 1995

Don’t let Mike’s death be in vain – please don’t drink and drive!

Has your life been affected by drunk driving? Please feel free to share your story in the comments.

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  1. December 4, 2012 / 8:07 am

    Mm. This post came up as a related post for me when I was on your 12 Days of Contests intro post. Down where my parents live, along Creditview Road in Mississauga (where I grew up), there’s a long stretch of road with no street signs or lights, and it was regularly used for racing. It wasn’t uncommon to see wreaths at the end of the street for people killed by reckless or drunken driving. My brother’s best friend was also killed in a car accident where the driver fell asleep at the wheel.

    I’m glad that you have this stance. I just wish that more people had it β€” without having to have an accident happen to bring that awareness.

    • JamieLeighTO
      December 4, 2012 / 10:56 am

      Yeah, that related posts plugin seems to be a little off – but this post is timely at this time of the year! I actually have another similar post in the works based on the idea that most people who will never drink and drive are unfortunately people who have lost someone.

      I know exactly which street you’re talking about – my aunt lived near it!

  2. May 17, 2013 / 3:45 pm

    My sister lives in Mississauga, and I go down Creditview all the time and see tons of wreaths. The story you shared is so sad, and it makes me sad to know we will hear more of these types of stories, particularly during/after a long weekend. I think people should really exercise common sense when driving to an event. If you live far from TO, like I do, drink very little and switch to water, or stay in town and take a cab to events. The point is, you need to be responsible, or suffer the consequences. Karma really does come back to haunt people.