Tuesday, December 12, 2006

DWI/DUI Stories

The SNSS wrote a blog over the weekend that inspired me to shre these experiences from my Parole Officer days.
Although I had more DWI/DUI/Involuntary Manslaughter Parolees on my caseload than the three I'm going to write about today, these three are the ones who stand out in my memory.

Trucker lived in the next county West of my Home county. He drove a tandem rig hauling rocks to road construction projects. One of the problems Trucker had was that he took "white crosses", little white tablets, scored with two marks that quartered the tablet, hence the nickname. The tabs allowed him to drive for long periods of time with no sleep and make more money. The downside of that was that he became a very aggressive driver.
He's speeding down a 2 lane US Highway, with improved shoulders. He approaches a small passenger car, going the speed limit. Since there is oncoming traffic, he can't pull around her to pass. She is unwilling to pull over on the shoulder to allow him to pass her in the main traffic lane.
As he tells it, he'd been 'speeding' on the 'white crosses' for a 'couple of days' and 'when that bitch' refused to pull over onto the shoulder of the road, HE RAN OVER HER!!!
What amazed me was his total lack of remorse. This woman was in the hospital for months, with major internal injuries and multiple broken bones. It is only by the grace of a Merciful and Loving God that she survived that crash! She will never walk without a cane again. And he doesn't even feel a whit, not an iota of guilt!
He sat there in our first meeting, the day after he got out of prison, and told me the wreck was HER fault. "If she'd just moved over and let me pass I wouldn't have hit her." Having read the offense report, and the accident report, I confronted his denial. "You didn't 'hit' her car, you ran over and crushed her car , with her in the car." He admitted that was true. So I continued, "Do you realise that, if the hospital had not been within a mile of the crash site, she would have died? And you would have been charged with Involuntary Manslaughter?" He answered, "Yeah, my lawyer explained how lucky I got."
I stopped him. I was outraged. I may not have been able to change his attitude about his crime, but I could by Goddess change the way he addressed ME. "Let's get something straight right now. You don't say 'yeah' or 'nah' to me. You will address me, and answer my questions with 'yes,ma'am' or 'no,ma'am'. Is that crystal clear?" "Yes, Ma'am"
"Now. That woman was in the hospital for four months, then she was in a rehab hospital hospital for another six months. She will have to use a cane to help her walk for the rest of her life. But you are sitting there telling me that the wreck was her fault?" "Yep, ur,uh, Yes,Ma'am. And my insurance premiums went through the roof! You wouldn't believe how high they are!"
"Well, Mr. Trucker, if it was up to me, you wouldn't be allowed to drive anything bigger than a Tonka truck, so you better just sit there and count your blessings. Now, you will take a UA EVERY week. Here's the address. You miss one test, or have one dirty UA, and I will violate you so quick your head won't have time to stop spinnin' before you're back in a cell! You understand me?"
"Yes, Ma'am. But who's gonna pay me for the time I miss from work to go take that UA?"
I just looked at him for several seconds. I wish I'd worn glasses, so I could have looked at him over the top of the frames. Finally I said, "Don't push your luck, Mr. Trucker, or we'll make it 2x/week."

Old Drunk lived in my Home County. When I got his Criminal History I couldn't believe it. It was six pages long. It went back 30 some years, and was nothing but drunk in public, public intoxication, Driving drunk, Driving while Intoxicated and finally when he came onto my caseload, Involuntary Manslaughter.
Old Drunk admitted the wreck was his fault, but he didn't feel any guilt. He thought the fact that he killed three young people in another car was excused because he was drunk at the time. In his words, "Everybody's driven when they've had a drink or two. Why I bet you've even driven after having a drink, Ms. Parole Officer." My standard reply when a parolee tried to bring my behavior into question went something like this, "Whether I have or not, isn't the question, Old Drunk. We're here to talk about what you did on such and such a date. And what you did was get in a car, so drunk that you caused three young people, with a lot to live for, three young people who had NOT been drinking, and who were driving the speed limit, on their side of the road, and you crossed over the center line, because you were so drunk you couldn't tell where you were on the road. You crashed into their car going over the speed limit, and you rolled their car into a ditch, and you walked away from that crash. You walked away from a crash that took the firefighters an hour to cut their mangled, dead bodies out of the twisted metal of what used to be a car, Old Drunk. Three people, not one of whom was over the age of 23. One of those kids might have grown up to be a Doctor and discovered a cure for cancer. Or another might have grown up to be a Statesman who could bring Peace to warring nations. Or maybe the third could have become a Soldier who would save his platooon from being overrun on a patrol by enemy forces. But we'll never know now, will we?" "Well, I was drunk, it wasn't really my fault now was it. I'm an alcoholic. I can't help it." Old Drunk, according to the State of Texas, it was your fault. According to this Parole Certificate you signed yesterday, and the special conditions you are not allowed to drink alcohol. You will also attend Alocohol Counseling. In your case that will be Alcoholics Anonymous. Here is a list of meetings in this county. I want you to make 90 meetings in 90 days."
And he starts sputtering like an engine in need of a new carburator. "Well, you can't make me do that. I only had to make one meeting a week before when I was on parole!" To which I replied rather pithily, "You never killed anybody before, Old Drunk. And you never had ME for a Parole Officer before either."

I'll tell y'all about the one "good" parolee I had in similar circumstances tomorrow. I promise I won't leave you hanging like other Bloggers I know.


DiamondMair said...

Thirty-some years ago, I used to partake of "white crosses" for study purposes, or because I'd stayed out too late the night before - but I never drove under their influence.................far as drinking and - yes - until I couldn't get out of a parking spot - that was 20 + years ago, so since then, I've pretty much been designated driver - also, since after one I'm maybe OK, but after two, no WAY, it's just easier to drink water or tomato juice ...................
Semper Fi'
Diamond Mair

Flo said...

I recall to this day this day the drunk that was brought in, cussing up a blue streak, while the woman he had just made a widow was in a cubicle across the room. I was very grateful I didn't have to take care of either one of them.

I don't much care for drunk drivers, either.

Rabbit said...

I've seen an ER doctor suture a drunk to the gurney by his ears to make him hold still while he stitched up a facial and scalp laceration.

I've hung a wet towel off a laundry pin clamped to a belligerent inebriate's earlobe to make him be still, too.

I have no tolerance for drunks. Especially those who would come into the ER.


HollyB said...

My 2nd ex was an ER nurse. His spot was the underside of the great toe w/ the towel clamp for stillness compliance.

phlegmfatale said...

Wow, I love reading about you holding their feet to the fire - it's incredible that people can look you in the eye and blame the people they maimed or killed for the fact that they had the wreck. Sheesh.