Drunken Driving Takes a Friend

by Staff

A person is like a spider whose web spins from the center out,each person another string on the web. It is amazing to think aboutall the different things one person can be: a daughter, an oldersister, a new and an oldfriend. That was Jamie, and I was one of her old friends.

Jamie Frantz, a young woman attending University of Colorado,Boulder, was robbed of her life Nov. 3 by a drunken driver.

I can’t begin to explain the terror that seized me when I got themessage from my friend Claire on the way home from class. Her voicecarried that tinge of bad news, and the second I heard her I knewsomeone had died.

When I found out it was Jamie — who had a world of opportunityjust waiting for her, who had emerged from her shell into aconfident, beautiful young woman — I was in shock.

But it didn’t take long for the effects of my emotions to takeover my mind. My tears came quickly as I flashed back to her sweetimage and gentle voice, her charisma and the thirst for life she hadonly a few days earlier expressed in a letter to one of my closefriends.

At first, I thought it was an accident. The driver who hit Jamiewas coming home from work. The driver claimed that she had her musicon loud, and had gotten tired at the wheel.

A tragedy, but an accident nonetheless.

That comfort was built on a false hope. One week later, at thememorial service, we were told the truth.

A drunken driver hit Jamie.

The woman who hit her had been taking shots of alcohol at work anddecided it would be acceptable to drive home.

She was driving 60 mph in a 30 mph zone and ran through a redlight.

My stomach turned at hearing this, and anger took over my emotionsas reality began to sink in.

I’ve spent the past week going through the motions of life, tryingto come to terms with the fact that my friend’s future was robbed.

She will never again go to class; she will not be graduating withme this year. And I can only angrily ask, “why?”

Why are her parents without their daughter? Why do I have to writethis article expressing the complete and utter grief that all whoknew her have been victim to?

Because one person didn’t think it would happen to her. One persondidn’t swallow her pride and ask for a ride home. She didn’t considerpaying for a cab; something that might have saved my friend’s life –and prison time for herself.

We know the risks. We’ve heard the stories. Yet people still takeinnocent lives into their own hands every time they get behind thewheel drunk.

It can happen to you, and it is happening on this campus. We muststart here to stop this self-indulgent behavior.

I hear stories of people on this campus bragging about their DUIs.I hear people laughing about their weekends of overindulgentdrinking, then proceed to get behind the wheel and drive home.

To those people, I have to say that you make me sick.

You and all your friends who think it’s “cool” to get drunk areridiculous.

Drunken driving puts not only yourself, but hundreds crossing yourpath, at risk.

Jamie was crossing the street.

How many times have you seen people crossing the street onMontezuma in the middle of the night?

How many times have they almost been hit by one of you who haveonly had “one or two?”

Believe me, you do not want Jamie’s story to become your reality.

It is an ironic twist that when you open my high school yearbook,it is written next to Jamie’s picture that she had a part in StudentsAgainst Drunk Driving.

She worked against the very thing that ended up taking her fromus. My friend can never get her life back. She will never again beDaughter or Older Sister to a family who can only find comfort in herangelic memory.

Her life had endless possibilities. I can only hope her memorywill continue the work she accomplished in life, and serve as atragic example of how drunken driving can rip the hearts and soulsout of the hundreds of victims associated with every accident andstolen life.

–Jackie Fleishon is an English senior.

–This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of TheDaily Aztec. Send e-mail to letters@thedailyaztec.com.Anonymous letters will not be printed — include your full name,major and year in school.