Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Personal Story -- Consequences of an OWI

Someone we know was kind enough to share his personal story of being charged for operating while intoxicated (OWI) and the consequences and regret he felt afterwards:

I recently got charged for under age consumption, and operating while intoxicated (OWI).  Although it hasn’t been long since the arrest, I feel it has affected me personally, my family, and my friends.  It changed how I act and what I do.  Not only did I get in trouble, but I let my family members down.  I was always told not to drive and when I got in trouble it changed how I thought about the situation.  Knowing that I could have killed someone is devastating, and a risk that should not have been taken.  Because of my actions, I am on probation and am not allowed to even be around alcohol of any kind, for a year.  Also, my drivers license got suspended for a total of 90 days.  During this time it has affected everyone.  I am stuck at home and cannot visit friends, and my family has to drive me places.  It sucks being known as a guy who has to ride his bike to get to work.
On the other hand, I feel that I got lucky.  I like to look at it in a way that it is helping me.  Rather than drinking alcohol, I choose to do other activities that are better for my body and mind.  I think straighter and my concentration lasts longer.  While alcohol can be fun, it slowly makes you a different person, and because of my OWI I have learned that it isn’t all about partying and that at times you have to take things seriously and take responsibility for your actions.


Monday, March 5, 2012

First Story

Below is the first of many stories to come from family and friends who have been affected by drunk driving. We appreciate Stacey Zellers sharing with us her personal account of being victimized by a drunk driver.

Just before 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 22, 1994, I had just finished Christmas shopping after work for Rick's children. I headed home knowing that Rick would be heading home from work soon too.

I approached the stop sign at the corner of Anderson Road and Bittersweet Road in Granger about a tenth of mile from our subdivision entrance. There were several cars backed up than I normally had to deal with at that intersection stop sign. As I am sitting behind a red pick-up truck and I glance in my rearview mirror to see headlights approaching behind.  A few seconds later I glance again in my mirror and I see the headlights approaching way too fast. I keep saying in my head "oh my God, that car isn't stopping". I put my hands over my face and stiffen my right leg on to the brake pedal as the car slams in to me from behind....

I am stunned. A guy comes to me and asks if I am ok. "I don't really know" I tell him. He checks on the driver behind me and never comes back to my car. I realize at that time that the hood of my car was actually sitting underneath the back end of the truck that was in front of me.

The fireman who came to my car was a calming presence. He needed me to stay put for several minutes while the other responders went to the car behind me. I keep asking him "Is he ok?", "Why did he hit me"? "Is he Diabetic or something"? "Did he pass out"? Finally the fireman says "ma'am, he's drunk".

Rick is on his way home but when he gets to the intersection of Old Cleveland Road and Bittersweet Road there is a policeman preventing people from turning left. Crap, he thought as he had to go several miles around to get in to the back entrance to our neighborhood. As he turns in he sees so many first responder lights further down at Bittersweet & Anderson. It suddenly occurs to him that I should be getting home at the same time and wonders if I have seen the commotion by our neighborhood. He gets to the house, opens the garage door and doesn't see my car. He has an immediate sudden feeling of panic. He speeds over to the accident scene and asks the police officer if there is a blue Lexus involved in the accident, which the officer confirms. He barrels his way past the officer but I had already been taken by the ambulance.

When I got to the emergency room the first faces I see are two of our friends who had scanners and heard the call. They beat the ambulance to the hospital. I had a burn on my forehead with a moderate concussion from hitting the steering wheel, a badly bruised right knee along with torn muscles in my neck and upper back. The hospital wanted to admit me for the night but since the guy who hit me was wheeled in to the emergency room right next to me I tell them I am going home before Rick or his friends kill him.

I wish I had known then, that if I had stayed overnight the police would have charged him with a DUI Causing Injury rather than just a regular DUI (that he could plead down to Reckless Driving).

The drunk guy as it turned out [had] a BAC of .356 (.400 is considered alcohol death). He passed out at the wheel and hit me going approximately 50 mph. He also wasn't wearing a seat belt so he flew in to his windshield. He kept losing consciousness at the scene so they called for the Cardiac Ambulance for him. 

He was driving a very old Crown Victoria which was a big metal tank...not like cars now. And he carried the bare minimum insurance required by Indiana which didn't even cover the cost of my totaled car let alone medical bills. He was convicted of a DUI and thanks to a letter I wrote the judge he had to wear a home monitor cuff for 6 months.

What really impacted me when I saw my car the next day is that I was very lucky. Lucky that a month before the accident I had traded in my Mazda RX7 sports car (with virtually no backseat or trunk) for a Lexus sedan. If the accident had been a month earlier I would have likely died in the accident.

I was someone who had driven drunk and buzzed before in my early 20s. By the time of the accident I already moved out of the "going out drinking" phase. I had already acknowledged that while it was fun at times, it wasn't adding value to my life. However I still feet like the accident was a wake-up call for me to be sure I set a good example for Rick's kids and now my own kids. It's kind of funny that I forget birth dates and other dates but I have never forgotten the date of this accident. Finally, thank God I was wearing my seat belt!! 

Stacey Zellers

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Did you know that approximately every 48 minutes someone dies because of a drunk driver? Or that 1 in every 3 people in the U.S. will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime? That means you or one of your family members likely will be or have been affected by drunk driving. Finally, did you know “An average drunk driver will drive drunk 87 times before being pulled over!” ( That’s a pretty scarey thought. These reasons and many others are why our Case Studies class has decided to fight drunk driving.
Every spring, business students at Manchester College get an awesome opportunity in their Case Studies class. All the seniors in Accounting, Finance, Management and Marketing come together in one class to develop and run a business. By having all the majors back in one class the students can each work in their department as well as with the other departments and get the real feel of being in a business environment. The profits from the business are given to a charity of the students’ choosing. 
This year’s class decided we wanted to fight against drunk driving. We came up with the business name #Survive and the slogan “Your Life Is Trending.” The name and slogan tie back to Twitter lingo. For those of you who are not familiar with Twitter, anytime someone puts a hash tag (#) in front of a word in their tweet it creates a trend. Thus the play on words in “Your Life Is Trending.”
We are very fortunate that the Drug and Alcohol Consortium of Allen County was willing to partner with us. They have provided us with our seed money to purchase products, as well as contacts and lots of support. Throughout the semester we will be working on volunteer projects with them and at the end of the semester all of our profits will go back to them.
We’ll be selling several different products, although in actuality we’re really selling the cause more than the products. Our biggest project will be going to businesses with catchy coasters we’ve designed that say “Don’t Drink and Drive,” along with “#Survive,” and “Your Life Is Trending.” We’ll be going around to bars, clubs and restaurants in Allen county trying to sell the cause to them.
Our next anti-drunk-driving products  are being sold to anyone who is interested in them. We are  selling magnets that can go on your car, like a bumper sticker, or just on your fridge if you’d prefer. We also have car fresheners to go in your cars. Finally, we’ll be selling awesome T-shirts. After all, wouldn’t you love to be contributing to this great cause while sharing the message with everyone you encounter?  If you have an interest in buying any of them let us know!
If you’re interested in the cause and want to know how and what we’re doing, this is the place to be. This blog will be used to share our experiences. We also will be sharing stories of friends and family of ours who have been affected by drunk driving.
So whoever you are – friends of ours, family of ours, people in the community, people who care about the cause, Manchester alumni, friends of Manchester, or anyone else, we welcome you! We’re super excited about the fun-filled, great hands-on learning experience we’ll be having and hope you too can join in by following, supporting us, purchasing products and more!
Kira Wennerholm – Public Relations Manager of #Survive