Thursday, December 13, 2007

I could not be on this woman's jury..

..because this tale cuts too close to home.

HOLIDAY -- The deputy arrived at the car crash, and this is what he heard: "Help me, my mother is drunk, and she crashed the car."

Those were the words of an 8-year-old girl who was a passenger in a wreck about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Here's what happened, according to reports from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and Florida Highway Patrol: Angela Atkinson (left), 32, of 2395 Powers St. in Palm Harbor, crashed her car on southbound U.S. 19 near Darlington Road.

She fled, and then hit another car.

The driver in the second crash followed Atkinson to the intersection of Atlantis Drive and Merrilon Drive, where deputies and troopers came to investigate.

She refused to submit to a breath test, but an FHP report says she smelled like she'd been drinking, was acting belligerent and had poor balance.

Before they took her to jail, where she remained Thursday in lieu of $6,500 bail, she said this, according to reports:

"I don't care if I am drunk. I don't give a damn."

Over 40 years ago I can still clearly remember being in the family car with Mom and my six siblings. It was night, and dear old drunk Dad had the driver's side window down gulping in the cold New Jersey night air to stay awake. Never got pulled over (this was the pre-MADD days) or crashed. A merciful God has watched over me and has kept me alive to this day.

As a potential juror in this case, I could not show this woman the same mercy.

If you have wondered why I post a lot of stories on this subject, in the words of Kenny Chesney "I've been there, that's why I'm here". I want to make it clear that I recognize the great majority of humanity that can enjoy adult beverages in a responsible manner.

But a small (sadly not small enough) minority of us are destroying ourselves, and I just want to bring to your attention how bad it is.

Forgive me for my indulgences in this area.

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