Elizabeth D. Finalist Never Drink and Drive Scholarship

CALIFORNIA — The following essay was submitted to Johnson Attorneys Group for the 2023 Never Drink and Drive Scholarship Competition. The winner will be chose by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and announced later this month.

Elizabeth D. Essay

Even though it didn’t come at a surprise, hearing in the middle of the night that my brother had been in a car wreck was terrifying nonetheless. It was around 2 a.m. on a rainy and foggy night when my mother woke me up sobbing and told me to quickly get in the car.

Too shaken up to drive, I raced us to Palomar Hospital. All we had to go on at that point was that my brother had been in a serious car accident and was unconscious upon arrival at the hospital. When my mother and I finally got there we were told that my brother was seriously injured, but stable and would be kept for observation.

At the time, my brother was only 20 years old and had already been fueling his
alcohol addiction for years. That same addiction was what landed him a short stint in jail
just two years before, where we thought he had learned his lesson and would turn his
life around.

Quite the opposite happened though, instead he spiraled down even further,
moving out of my parents place and into a house with several other young men with the
same bad habits. There he wasted the next year and a half of his life on alcoholism and
we hardly heard from him. At times I lay blame on myself for not being an active part of
his life and I think about what might have happened if I tried to reach out more often.
Maybe he wouldn’t have ended up face down in that ditch on the brink of drowning in

From what we were able to piece together my brother had been at a party at a
friend’s house that night. He obviously had way too much to drink, as did everyone else
at the get together, which is why no one stopped him as he climbed into his small white
truck to drive home. The pouring rain and thick fog didn’t aid in my brother’s terrible
decision which led him to miss a turn and roll down an embankment into a small creek.
The impact was so forceful, that it propelled my brother through the windshield and into
the mud. Even though it was the dead middle of the night, a car happened to pass by
and called 911. In the end, my brother walked away with a broken cheekbone, a few
broken ribs, a broken arm, and several glass filled gashes. The entire experience,
though difficult, was a necessary evil that finally got my brother on the right path. He is
now almost four years sober and is expecting a little baby boy in June.

Learn more about Johnson Attorneys Group scholarship opportunities on our website.

James Johnson

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