Elizabeth Rose Named Winner of $1,000 Johnson Attorneys Group Scholarship
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (April 10, 2018) — At 13 years old, Elizabeth Rose, 34, of Portland, Oregon, said a drunk driver nearly destroyed her family’s life. Her sister Erin, who was 19 years old at the time, was critically injured and underwent months of treatment for a traumatic brain injury she suffered in the crash. Her sister’s boyfriend was also killed in the collision, leaving his parents orphaned.
“Erin’s boyfriend died in that crash and oddly enough that young man’s older brother had died just two years prior in a drunk driving accident,” Rose said in her essay. “The mother of those two men had lost both of her only children to drunk driving. Thousands of people a year have their lives completely changed because of people driving under the influence.”We are pleased to announce that Elizabeth Bond Rose is the winner of the Johnson Attorneys Group’s 2018 Never Drink and Drive Scholarship.
Rose, who was born in Palm Desert, California, went on to become a paramedic after earning an associate’s degree in applied science. She says she wanted to help people and found that she did well in high-stress situations. She now works in the Emergency Room transfer center at Kaiser Permanente where she coordinates patient care. She plans to continue her education and will be attending Portland State University in the fall to study organic chemistry as she plans to become a botanist.
“Young people are an important player in the fight to end drunk driving,” said James Johnson, founder of Johnson Attorneys Group. “We wish Elizabeth all the best in her studies and her new career.”
MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING
The winning essay was selected as the winner by our friends at the Southern California office of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
“First, all the stories are great and I was touched by all the stories,” said Patricia Rillera, MBA Regional Executive Director of MADD Southern California Region. “However, I felt Elizabeth’s best articulated (Johnson Attorneys Group’s) requirements. She has a cause connection, took the time to mention the statistics and appears to understand the negative consequences involved with impaired driving.”
Indeed, we received 234 heart-wrenching essays from college-bound students across the country who were asked to write an essay about how drunk driving has affected them or someone they know, why we should care about drunk driving and how they would bring awareness to their community?
As we read through these essays, there were many words of wisdom that struck a chord here at our law firm. One particular essay, by Zachary Worster, retold a story his mother told him about a teenage boy she knew in high school who died after a night out drinking when he crashed his car into a tree at high-speed.
“His funeral was open casket despite the trauma to his head and body and she described
how shocking the experience was for her,” Worster said. “The boy’s parents had purposely had open casket as a
demonstration to all of the teens at the visitation that this could happen to them, too, if they make
poor decisions like he did. It was a powerful message that she has not forgotten to this day.”
We found out as we read through these entries, just how deeply this crime affects our communities, but we were surprised to hear from so many students who were children of alcoholics.
STUDENTS LIVING WITH ALCOHOLIC PARENTS
The pain suffered by children who grew up with an alcoholic parent, and sometimes DUI driver, is heartbreaking. They are the ones behind the scenes who live in fear of being killed by their own parents, the parent killing themselves or someone else. When the latter happens, they also live with the guilt that they were unable to stop their parent.
Roughly 16 percent or 209 of the 1, 1,132 children killed in DUI traffic accidents om 2015 were the result an impaired driver in the vehicle where the child was killed, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Overall, some 10,265 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in the United States. This accounts for about one-third (29%) of all traffic-related deaths in the country.
The essays we received over the past seven months really illustrate how traumatizing it is for the families of drunk drivers who have children.
Indeed, Not only are they put in harm’s way by riding as passengers in their parent’s vehicles, but they constantly live in fear that their parent could be involved in one of these crashes. Quite a few of our entries were from children whose parents were locked up, they killed someone else, themselves or who themselves were physically or emotionally scared after a DUI crash caused by their own parent.
Steven Burton, an MBA student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, opened his heart up about the impact of his father’s DUI crash had on him and his family. His dad, a longtime alcoholic, is now in an Alabama state prison serving 20 years for a collision that killed a 24-year-old mother of two.
“As a witness to his drinking you always knew it could happen, but prayed it wouldn’t,” said Burton. “Then when it does, your mind can’t comprehend the tragedy. I cried for two days thinking about what more I could have done. … It still hurts to think about her children.”
Survivors, Victims and Lack of Remorse by DUI Drivers
Some of our essays came from survivors of drunk drivers. Natalie Conroy was one of them. She suffered a shattered spine and in a collision with a wrong-way, drunk driver in 2014. Although she survived, she would never be the same and the pain she endured throughout her recovery was horrible.
Many of the essays touched on the lives lost by teenagers to drunk driving and how that affected their families, themselves and the community.
Another common thread among the essays we received was the fact that many drunken drivers do not show remorse for their actions, they repeat their behaviors and never tell the families affected that they are sorry. Probably that’s because they are not sorry and given the chance they would continue to drive drunk and put the rest of us at risk.
Some excerpts from some of our entries:
- “My family believes God saved my brother’s life that night, so now it is our duty to save someone else’s,” said Katherine Christina Fazio.
- “That person that killed CJ and Sean not only took a life, but they took a piece of every person’s heart that ever loved them,” said Katrina Johns. “They took away the life of a community.”
- “No child wants to see their father go to jail, but it was a wake up call that saved my dad’s life,” said Shaina Abbott. “He’s been sober ever since.”
- “There are few things in my young life that I will never forget and those are the cries and screams of my mom filling up the silence in the waiting room at the hospital, the teary and swollen eyes of my dad, and the moment we stepped back into our house with one less family member while the movie still on pause and the cold pizza in the kitchen,” said Stefany Ortiz who lost her sister in a 2011 crash with a DUI driver.
- “Most of all, I think of the loss to society. The loss to the future. Young aspirations extinguished. One less physician, scientist, teacher, or engineer. One less lawmaker, legislator, or military member. One less scientific advancement, one less discovery. Shattered lives. Ruptured families. This is why we must care about drunk driving,” said Brooke Cousins.