Two years and 11 days ago--September 26, 2008--was the day my life
turned upside-down and backwards. It started off as a normal Friday. I got up,
went to school, came home, went to work. I came home very excited because my
best friend Shanda was staying the night. We put in our first movie, and got
about halfway through when my phone rang. It was my sister-in-law, Trisha. She
asked, “Where is your dad?’’ I replied, “It’s Friday night, you know his
routine; out to dinner with Mom at Chico’s, then to Uncle Phillip’s
transmission shop, then to his best friend Brian’s house.” She said, “Well I
don’t want to scare you, but there has been a motorcycle wreck at K-42 and
Hoover.” K-42 and Hoover is right in between Phillip’s shop and Brian’s house.
I said, “OK, call me back if you know anything else.” I called my mom and she
said she was on her way to K-42 and Hoover.
About 30 minutes later, I called my mom again, but this time a lady
named Christina answered the phone. Christina is a woman from our church who I
found out later just happened to pull up next to my mom. Christina asked me if
I knew what was going on and I told her yes. She said, “Well... He didn’t make
I hit the floor, bawling my eyes out. The next few days were a
complete blur. The viewing, funeral and arrangements, it was pure nuts. The
viewing lasted forever! What amazed me, however, was the variety of people coming
through. One person would be in a suit and the next person would be covered in
tattoos and piercings. My dad obviously made an impact on people and he
definitely loved his life and everyone in it. The funeral had over 1,000 people
Dealing with court was such a pain. The wreck was a hit and run. My
dad had the green arrow and he started to turn left and BAM! The guy hit him
and kept going. The man who killed my father had a blood alcohol content
(B.A.C.) level of 0.03, but the legal limit is 0.08, so his B.A.C. was under
the legal limit. He also had a prescription drug, Depakote, in his system,
within the “proper” range. His punishment was a $30 fine for running the red
light, a $10,000 fine for his driving record (he’d had previous run-ins with the
law), and 18 months in jail. My story proves you don’t have to be completely
drunk to hurt someone. The first sip impairs you, so whether it’s one drink,
two drinks, or two million drinks, it impairs you.
Going back to school, I was known as the girl whose dad died. That
wasn’t a title I wanted to stick. Nobody knew what I was going through, so it
was very hard at first. Then I started volunteering for the D.U.I Victim Center
of Kansas. I have been doing that for a year now, and I speak to D.U.I offenders.
I’m now a freshman at Cowley County in Arkansas City, I’m studying criminal
justice and maybe even possibly going on to law school.
I miss my dad so much; he always knew exactly what to say to make me
laugh. I want to be just like him... he was my hero. Unfortunately, my story is
just one of many. Every year, thousands of people are taken from their families
by tragedies involving impaired drivers. So please everybody out there, don’t
drink and drive EVER!
Whitney Williams is a freshman at Cowley County