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Pam Briggs

It's time you hear from the mother of the drunk driver relating to the fatal accident that took two lives on Highway 229 Oct. 4.

Yes, I am mad, too. Not because I claim my son was innocent, but because on at least three different occasions that night, nobody tried to stop him from driving. His passenger/best friend chose, as always, to ride with him, intoxicated as well, even though I had many conversations with my son and his best friend about drinking and driving.

Just a few helpful tips: We need to educate our children and friends to make good choices as a passenger not to go with someone who is intoxicated and to try to stop the driver. It may ruin a relationship for awhile, but believe me, at least you will see them on the street in the future and feel good that they are alive or have not injured some innocent victim. Dial 911; that always works if you cannot stop them. Take the keys and run. At least they will be alive the next day.

For the record, the reports from police investigations and from witnesses that were at the said parties, advised us that on two occasions that night, they were at two house parties, accompanied by adults that provided alcohol to our local youth. Someone actually assisted my son, the drunk driver, into the driver's seat that night. With an alcohol level of .22 percent, the officer stated that our son was visibly intoxicated. No way could anyone have mistaken otherwise. The police reports are available if you are interested.

I have tried many times to stop the said house parties at the said location, but failed. They have raided the one residence in the past, but the kids run out the back door, down into a canyon, escaping any liability. I hope your child is not there. I also know that this residence has placed a six pack of beer on their kitchen table in memory of our son. Can't beat that.

I, too, had a very special relationship with my son. I, too, will miss "How are ya doing mom?," the 10 calls a day to my work. Even though he was 23 years old, he was very attached to my securities. I do wish he would have listened to my advice.

His dad and I raised him in a loving fashion. We did not keep alcohol in our house; drinking was not allowed and kept very strict. We never saw the kids intoxicated because they knew we did not approve of the alcohol. We had many conversations with the kids not to drink and drive, but they advised us that they knew what they were doing and were in control. I've heard this story many times.

The poem in memory of our son was published in the paper a few weeks ago, and yes, it can happen to you, too. If you would like a copy, please request it from any member of our family. We will be more than happy to share it with you. If anyone has additional information about these parties, and you will know who you are, you need to come forward for the families of these two boys that were taken from us. It could have been you. Everyone knew them as great party animals. These kids, in many ways I am told, looked up to our boys. They were fun. Both had charming personalities and smiles that took them far. Some of your children partied with these two boys the evening of their fatal accident. Some were athletes. Kind of scary isn't it? We need to combat, as parents, and try to take control of our children once again. Our son, we know you are in a safe place now and at peace. We love and will miss him.

[The above letter to the editor is reprinted by permission, and originally appeared on page A4 of the Friday, November 6, 1998, edition of the News-Times.]

I went to a party mom
I remembered what you said
You told me to be good mom
But I drank some beer instead.

I thought I could handle it mom
I always drink and drive
All of my friends do mom
And they are still alive.

I know I did the wrong thing mom
I know you are always right
But I got into the car mom
And drove off, into the night.

I knew there would be no problem mom
I've done this ever since I became a man
I don't know why you worry mom
I will be home as soon as I can.

I am driving down the road mom
I can't believe what I see
My car is going really fast mom
And it's heading for that tree.

What are all the lights and sirens mom
Why is my body in such pain
I wish you were here mom
So I could hear your voice again.

You know I am really tough mom
I've never lost a fight
But I am really afraid now mom
I know I will die tonight.

I wish I had one more chance mom
To see my daughter grow
I know you will take good care of her mom
I know you love her so.

Tell my sister not to cry mom
Tell my dad to be brave
And when I get to heaven mom
Write "Daddy's Boy" on my grave.

I know I have made you sad mom
But please remember me this way
Close your eyes and see my smile
It's in the sun's golden rays.

I have one last favor mom
Before I say goodbye
Tell my friends and cousins mom
Please don't drink and drive.

Written by Tami Johnson,
Pam Briggs & Bill Pankey


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