On Tuesday, Hillsboro resident Andres Escobedo was sentenced to three years and four months of jail time for driving drunk and causing the death of his fiancé Ashley Dettra.
This is a very tragic story – Escobedo is only 21 years old. But drunk driving is a major problem and considering the way he was driving (he lost control and hit a concrete barrier), he is lucky that no one else was hurt. Apparently, people around Escobedo were aware that he had been drinking but did not stop him from driving.
In the summer, it’s very tempting to have a few drinks to cool off. And that’s fine – as long as you are aware that driving intoxicated is not acceptable. Many, many accidents are caused by drunk drivers every year and we can all do our part to try and prevent these deaths and injuries.
If you are going out to a party or know you will be drinking, it is always a good idea to appoint a designated driver. This person is responsible for ensuring that everyone gets home safely. Because this person cannot drink, it is good to take turns being the designated driver so that no one person resents the duty.
A designated driver will help prevent drunk driving accidents, and therefore will prevent injuries, deaths, tickets, and even jail time. There is no stigma to being a designated driver, and most people agree this is an admirable role. If you have a larger group, you might need more than one designated driver so that everyone can get home.
If you’ve been drinking, but did not designate a driver – do not drive! There are many alternatives. If you are at a friend’s house, stay there. If you know someone who doesn’t drink, ask them for a ride. If you really need to get home, call a taxi.
If you see someone is drunk, do not let them drive. Having a small confrontation is nothing compared to knowing you could have prevented a drunk driving accident or death. If you are sober, offer to drive the person home. If not, find a driver for both of you – but do not let an intoxicated driver endanger himself and others.
Another thing you can do to prevent drunk driving is to report any drunk drivers you see on the road. If you see a car swerving or you know someone has left a party drunk (but you weren’t able to stop them from driving) call 911. Do not drive alongside this vehicle, but try to notice the type of car, color, etc., and then pull over to call and notify law enforcement.
Drunk driving accidents can be prevented. Let the story of Escobedo serve as a lesson – and let it teach us all that there are serious consequences for driving drunk and for letting friends drive drunk. You never know who might be hurt. As lawyers who represent clients injured in drunk driving accidents, we’ve seen horrible things happen to good people because drunk drivers were on the road and hurt innocent people.