There are innocent mistakes. Then there are horrible lapses in judgment.
Then there are the navel-gazing imbeciles who ignore decades of public service announcements, legislative and law enforcement crackdowns, and mounds of common sense yelling at them, and who nonetheless drive under the influence and kill or maim someone.
We’re as fed up with them as we are with mobs who storm U.S. embassies.
But we’ve still seen several apparent instances of it lately.
An Evans man, Alfonzo Nelle-Lopez, 28, is charged with first degree vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, open container, failure to maintain lane and driving without a license in a Monday crash on Columbia Road that killed his passenger. Considering the charges, authorities obviously believe alcohol was involved.
In Gwinnett County, Beverly Lynne Wilkins, 37, of Dacula, is charged with multiple offenses after driving the wrong way on Ga. 316 Aug. 24 and injuring five others in a horrific crash – while allegedly having been under the influence of the drug Propofol, stolen from a medical facility in the area.
Yet, excuse us for thinking the most tragic recent crash that is believed to be alcohol- or drug-related is the one that took the life of 19-year-old Jordan White of Martinez. The lovely Augusta State University student and Evans High graduate was making a legal left turn onto Washington Road from Ronald Reagan Drive late Wednesday when a pickup truck reportedly ran the red light and struck her car. Her two passengers were also seriously injured.
The wait for lab results is expected to be torturous, but again authorities believe the driver was impaired.
What is it with people? When are they going to wake up to the fairly obvious conclusion that it’s brain dead to drink or dope yourself into a fog and then sit behind the controls of a large chunk of metal that goes hurtling down the highway? What part of “stupid and dangerous” don’t they understand?
Know this: Anyone convicted in such a case won’t get near the amount of prison time that’s coming to them. What do we have to do to get their attention? Institute life terms on the first offense of impaired-driving killings?
At some point, impaired driving moves from being a mistake, an accident or a lapse of judgment to gross, wanton, moronic, criminal negligence.
We’re thinking at the point where the key goes in the ignition.