Simple plan is not to drive drunk

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A friend of mine recently sent me the new video by Simple Plan titled, How Could This Happen To Me?

When I first began watching I thought well here is yet another music video that is focusing on death.

However, I quickly found myself watching a bit more closely.

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The storyline of the video is a simple one.

A teenage girl is hit head-on by a drunk driver and as her friends stand in the pouring rain watching, firefighters work to free her from the wreckage.

If that was all there was to the video, I would probably have stopped watching.

However, you soon see the girl's mother washing dishes, her dad working on some papers, her brother playing video games and her sister listening to music.

At the moment of the impact, each one of her family members is brutally snatched from what he or she was doing and thrown about the room in slow, painful motion.

You may think it is just another music video. I did, and I quickly realized how wrong I was.

The truth is when a family member is killed by a drunk driver, it truly does kill a part of a family.

The pain is unbearable, and it does feel like you are being tossed about by the events that claim a loved one's life.

I have never lost a loved one to a drunk driver. I'm thankful for that. I do have extended family that has lost loved ones, though.

My aunt, Brenda Owens, lost her twin sister, Glenda Phelps, to a drunk driver.

A few days after my mom died, Aunt B and I were talking and she said she could understand the feelings my family was going through of being ripped apart.

She said when she got to the hospital that night, her sister lay on the gurney dead from the wounds she sustained in the crash, while the man who was drunk and pretty much, in my opinion and the courts' murdered Glenda, lay sleeping peacefully on another gurney.

She said all she thought was that she just wanted to get at him there in the hospital and if she had been able to, I think justice might have been served.

Why should the law be more lenient on a person who has killed another person simply because they were drunk and the weapon used was a vehicle?

I imagine if a few people were given stiffer penalties, folks might wake up and realize that they could spend a very long time in prison for their actions.

If I'm stepping on toes with this column, I'm glad to do it.

I'm sure some of you are saying, "Well, this was a young man, and he made a mistake."

I don't buy that. I was taught from an early age that if you commit a crime you are going to go to jail for it.

I'm sure that night, no one put a gun to the man's head and said, "I'm going to shoot you unless you get drunk and then try to drive." No, he made the choice to drink, and then he made the choice to drive. It's that simple.

Because of it, a woman is dead.

Her children are without their mother. Her unborn grandchildren will never know the feeling of having a big squeeze from their grandmother.

A mother has to deal every day with the pain of losing a child and her twin sister, her dearest friend, is left feeling that the other half of her is missing.

How could this happen?


He drank and he drove and he murdered a woman in cold blood.

Sadly, it happens every day throughout this country and until the law of this land makes this type of crime as severe as capital murder, it will continue to happen.

I'm not saying not to drink.

I am saying if you do, make very sure that you have a designated driver.

Jay Thomas is managing editor of the Greenville Advocate.

He can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 136 or via email at

Regular mail is P.O. Box 507, Greenville, AL 36037.