by Larry and Karen McAdams
Our Mica, left, and Christian, the survivor
A Christmas party; people meeting people for the first time. A quick run to a store before the party really starts; but wait, the driver (a stranger to the hosting group) is almost running over mailboxes. His three passengers know immediately that they are in danger, but it's too late. Before they left, they ask if he was OK to drive; he says 'yes'. He gives every appearance that he's okay to drive. He runs the stop sign right by the house. His three passengers are pleading for him to stop, let someone else drive. He stares straight ahead as if in a trance, saying nothing, ignoring their pleas. He just goes faster. They scream, PLEASE STOP! He still won't stop. He goes even faster. He's approaching yet another stop sign, but he's not slowing down. They scream again for him to stop. They can see the stop sign, why doesn't he acknowledge it? But he goes even faster. Doesn't he hear them? Why doesn't he stop?
Less than ½ mile from the Christmas party, in a ride under only a minute, he runs that final stop sign. Witnesses estimate he was going about 40 to 45 MPH. This is way too fast - the speed limit is only 25. The truck is broad sided as it flies across the intersection; it flips over and over again. The driver's life-long friend is killed, and two young women who are best friends (whom he had just met) - one is seriously injured, the other severely shaken, but able to walk away. The driver is OK. He doesn't try to help anybody. He doesn't even seem to acknowledge that anybody is hurt. According to a witness, he's only upset about his truck.
We are called at home; the hospital is making every effort to save our daughter, but they cannot make any promises. A long drive, such a long drive, to the ER. We're scared. We're praying. We are praying for forgiveness for the driver. We're asking how could this have happened? What happened? Who is this person who was driving?
We get there, but our Mica is already gone. We're in a fog, filled with sorrow and pain - just heart crushing pain. The driver had been drinking; he's only 20. He told the people he had just met that he was 21 - what made him lie? The police lieutenant tells us our precious daughter had zero blood alcohol. The lieutenant was with her in the ambulance. He already knew her from campus activities on which he had worked security. We are so thankful; at least she wasn't alone. We cry; we see her face, so peaceful, so beautiful. Our heads are reeling with memories. Our breathing is shallow. At times, the room seems to be spinning. If only we could turn back the clock. She had just turned 22 the weekend before. So many dreams smashed. Her college graduation - gone. Her future marriage, beautiful children - gone. She had plans; she had goals in her life. But they don't exist anymore. In an instant, they are all gone.
The time comes when the coroner says we have to leave, they must take her. No, we can't leave her! They can't take her away from us. We're supposed to go before our children, not the other way around! She's our child! We have so much to say to her, we have so much more to do together. Christmas is just around the corner, we have shopping and decorating to do! Her life can't be over;it just can't be. It was just starting! Just leaving her there - we just can't do it. No, no, no; she's going home with us; she's going to visit for the weekend! It can't be over, it just can't; But we don't have a choice. And she has no choice. None of us have any other choice.
Our hearts break with memories of years past, and with shattered dreams of a future that will never happen. Some people understand, others don't. But that's OK. We can't expect everyone to understand.
We find out from our child's friend, the surviving victim, that our beloved daughter was so scared. They were all scared; except for the driver. But their terror had no effect on him.
'It was just an accident' we are told. The definition of an accident is "Lack of intention; on chance; an unexpected and undesirable event, especially one resulting in damage or harm". Drunk driving is never just an accident. It is intentional, and it never happens by chance. This driver who killed two people deliberately ignored the impassioned screams of his captives. He took away their right to be safe. He heard their pleas, and intentionally ignored them. Without a second thought, he took their lives in his hands.
All drunk driving is 100% preventable. Every single person who drinks and drives makes the decision to do so. They choose to break the law. But like most drunk drivers think, they somehow argue that it's not their fault. They are impaired. And that exonerates them in their minds.
They don't know the torment that they purposely and willingly place on their victims, the families of their victims, and even their own families. So many lawmakers seem to have a tender spot for drunk drivers; why? Drunk drivers are murderers. They are killing people. Over 17,000 killed in 2006 alone by drunk drivers. They are using their cars and trucks as a 2,000 pound weapon. If an intoxicated person kills someone with a gun, knife or fireplace poker, the excuse that they are impaired doesn't enter in to their defense. They are murderers. Does operating a vehicle while drunk make victims any less dead?
We live daily with the knowledge of the promise that we'll be with her again in the blessed Heavenly home that God has prepared for us. That's our comfort, that's our peace, that's our stronghold. We are working towards forgiveness, which we know we must have. But since the moment of our initial prayers of forgiveness on that horrible night, news of his actions of contempt against court orders have resulted in even more to forgive him for. We are praying for a true change in this young man's life. We are praying for all families and friends touched by his heinous actions. And we are praying that everyone reading this who has ever driven while under the influence takes a moment to think about the possible horrible result of his or her actions, and chooses NOT to drink and drive.