Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

Driving drunk relinquishes the future to a roll of the dice

Post by Brian O'Neill on Jan. 26, 2014 at 1:19 pm with No Comments »
January 29, 2014 9:14 am

For anyone who requires further proof that life is not fair, consider the story of two young men, one 22 and the other 19. Both men were allegedly driving drunk at roughly twice the legal speed limit when everything went wrong. While their actions constitute similar crimes, their stories end very differently due to the immutable laws of physics and the chaotic nature of chance.

The 22-year-old’s name is Joshua Brake. Last June, Brake was rocketing along SR 507 near Roy, at a speed a witness estimated to be above 90 mph, when he lost control of his car and crashed. According to Adam Lynn’s article (TNT 1/23), one of the car’s passengers, 26-year-old Beau Dawson, died. Another unnamed passenger received a traumatic brain injury.

A horrific crash, injury, death and a potential prison term were probably the last things on Brake’s mind when he slipped behind the wheel that fateful summer night with a blood alcohol level reportedly just above the legal limit. But in the world of unintended consequences, DUI is a dark and spacious realm.

The other driver, a 19-year-old from Canada, has a much different story. Stopped by police while racing his sports car, another article (TNT 1/24) reports the young man admitted to drinking, smoking marijuana and consuming prescription drugs prior to driving.

Picture courtesy of CNN.com
Picture courtesy of CNN.com

If these details (and picture) seem familiar, that’s because the driver was Justin Bieber, the 19-year-old prodigy whose musical career has recently suffered from a rash of immature and destructive behavior.

Despite the disparate fallout of their actions, Joshua Brake and Justin Bieber have more in common than their initials. If one assumes that neither intended to harm anyone during their alleged reckless and alcohol-fueled road trips, then it is clear both Brake and Bieber decided to gamble their futures (not to mention the lives of their passengers, other motorists, pedestrians) on a roll of the dice.

In Bieber’s case, the roll did not come out well. Despite a retinue of “security” blocking the roadway so he could take a joy ride in his Lamborghini, somehow a police officer had the temerity to stop and arrest him for racing on a city street. After a profanity-laced tirade and a swaggering exit from jail, it would seem that his brief detention was merely a way for him to check the “mug shot” box on his celebrity scorecard.

But for Joshua Brake, the dice were far more cruel – one man dead, one traumatized and one staring at several years of incarceration and the burden of having killed another human being. In other words, snake eyes.

For all the risks associated with drunk driving – the twisting crunch of metal and flesh, arrest and incarceration, injury and death – there is no comparable benefit. As both Justin Bieber and, to a much greater extent, Joshua Brake have learned, there is much, and perhaps everything, to lose by throwing the dice.

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