The Drunk Driver Next Door

It was 9pm on a Thursday night – last night to be exact. I watched the end of something on TV I can’t remember and took Clifford out for his nightly walk. It was a nice night, but it had been raining earlier in the day. The roads were still a bit wet, and really – it felt like Seattle more than Denver.

Suddenly, I saw a glow of headlights coming towards me. For no reason other than that there was nothing else to look at while Clifford was taking care of business, I watched the Jeep Liberty. It passed me at first, very slowly. And then it appeared like it was trying to make a U-turn so it could park on the opposite side of the street. Somehow, the Jeep couldn’t make the U-turn. And it turned into a 3-point turn. A very slow and awkward 3-point turn. Now I was curious. Clifford was long done with his romp in the grass, but I felt compelled to keep watching. The car finally appeared ready for parking. A curb space fit for a semi truck was available, but the Jeep didn’t drive into the 18 feet. The Jeep passed the space and then attempted to parallel park as if it was parking in a spot made for a mini cooper in Manhattan.

Awkwardly, the Jeep finally squeezed next to the curb. I see a woman in the driver’s seat open the door and gather herself out of the car. She was dressed in a business suit and high heels. Her brown hair was coiffured in an empty-nester-once-soccer-mom style. And her face said “I am wasted.”

I watched, horrified, at this grown woman stumble around her car, let her dog out of the backseat and struggle to get the passenger side door open so she could retrieve her purse. I was in such disbelief that this…this ADULT…could be fall-down-drunk and driving, that I approached her and asked her if she was okay. I thought maybe she had low blood sugar or she was injured in some way. I guess I was just hoping. She looked at me, through me really, with glazed eyes and a crooked smirk and told me she was fine. I started to protest, “Are you sure?” but realized it was in vain. She had already arrived home “safely” and parked her car.

I continued to watch her stumble up the grass in her heels to the sidewalk, and then I watched her zig zag down the sidewalk, dog in tow. I then watched her walk right into a condo in my building.

This woman, this drunk driver, is my neighbor. I don’t know what her name is. But I know where she lives. I walk by her place every time that I take Clifford out. And I know I will see
her at the next HOA meeting. I wonder if she will remember me, or if she has already forgotten about her rockin’ Thursday night that lead her to make a poor decision – a poor decision that I have personally seen kill and maim innocent victims. I wonder if she drives drunk all the time, or whether this was an isolated incident. I wonder if I will find her car up on my sidewalk one of these days. I wonder if she will become a defendant in one of our many (too many) drunk driving cases.

Jodie Sandell
Pre-Litigation Department Manager

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