Living Life

An Open Letter to the Drunk Driver That Hit My Husband

Dear Drunk Driver who Hit the Vehicle my Husband Was Riding in Late Saturday Night/Early Sunday Morning;

I won’t pretend to know what you were thinking when you slammed into the back of that Suburban and then careened into the truck my husband was riding in at the time. I don’t think I can wrap my head around the decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk, drinking or even only “just had a few.” There is no excuse: You were in the wrong.

Now that we all understand that you were in the wrong, I feel the need to tell you a few things about one of the men you endangered with your bad decision.

He is, hands down, the most amazing man I have ever met. He is a devoted husband, a hands-on daddy, this house’s primary dish washer, a loving son, a helpful grandson, a loyal friend, a faithful believer, and a dedicated firefighter. I suppose if you’re going to get all willy-nilly drunk and slam into two cars that are stopped, hitting a bunch of firefighters was a good choice on your part, though I suspect that you had little to do with that aspect of the decision. But back to my husband…

He seems quiet at first, and honestly, he’s not as loud as me. He is the loud to my quiet, the relaxed to my high strung. He balances me. We’re one of those weird couples that simply matches. We are, if you’ll allow me a Sleepless in Seattle moment, MFEO. Fake gag at our sappy love all you want, everyone else does. But we’ve got a good thing going over here. And that quiet I mentioned? It disappears as you get to know him. While he’ll never be as loud as me, he is quick with a joke. The twinkle in his eye lets you know that even when he’s quiet, he’s laughing on the inside. He makes me feel like I’m the smartest, funniest, most talented, most beautiful woman on the planet. I would be lost without him.

Our two sons love him to the moon and back. About eighty bagillion times. There is no one as amazing as their daddy. I mean, what little boy doesn’t want a firefighter for a dad? He is a super hero in their eyes. He plays rough, but cuddles close. He can swing a light saber with the best of them, and has taught our boys how to cast while fishing. He’s patient when teaching them how to play baseball, how to kick a soccer ball. He does things with and teaches the boys things that I either can’t do or he just simply does better. Like vacuuming. He makes my sons feel loved, valued and important. They would be lost without him.

There are other people, removed from the obvious people like his mom and dad and sister and grandparents, who would be heartbroken without my husband. My daughter. My parents, brother and grandparents, all of whom seem to like him more than they like me. The Fake Husband. Countless others around this city whom he has touched, whom he has helped, whom he has bestowed his winning smile upon. His fellow firefighters, for whom he would lay his life on the line.

Which brings me to this point: I have learned to live with the fear, the worry, the anxiety that comes hand-in-hand with being a firefighter’s wife. Most days, I don’t think about it. He goes to work, and I busy myself with my work, our children, the home and life as it happens. I have forced myself to ignore the scanner, forced myself not to turn it on when he runs out in the middle of the night. Despite the fact that I can function even when I know he’s on a major fire, the fear always looms, lurks in the back of my head, my heart. It’s dangerous, fighting fires. It is. It makes me angry that you took something that didn’t cause me much fear — driving — and tainted it. I don’t want to live in fear every time that he leaves the house that a drunk driver will ruin everything we have with one bad judgment call.

Do you know what frustrates me most, Mr. Drunk Driver? I know nothing about you. The news media in Columbus doesn’t find a car accident caused by a drunk driver that involved three firefighters and two other civilians (of which, those two were transported to the hospital) to be news-worthy. The Ohio Crash Report doesn’t yet have you uploaded so that I can know your name, so that I can google you and figure out if you were set to lose as much as we were that night. So I can know who my enemy is. So I can say a prayer for that enemy, that maybe, God willing, the next time you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, you will think twice about those “just a few beers” that you have had. So that maybe you won’t put that car in drive. So that maybe you’ll think about families and fathers and mothers and children and sons and daughters and friends and co-workers and random acquaintances that would be devastated by the loss of one of their own. The good news is that, once the weekend backlog is officially entered, I’ll know who to pray for — whose name to pray never crosses our paths again.

Maybe you’re a great guy, Mr. Drunk Driver. Maybe you made one bad choice in the middle of a lifetime of great choices. Maybe you feel such remorse that it will never, ever happen again. I hope so. I hope no wife has to listen to her husband recount the moments that could have ended it all. I hope no wife has to experience worse than that — the unthinkable, the unmentionable.

I am thankful that my husband is okay. I am still praying that those in the Suburban that you slammed into first are okay. I spent most of yesterday thanking God and simply staring at my husband. The problem with that is that I’m always thankful for my husband. I didn’t need this near tragedy to open my eyes and show me what an amazing man I married. I always knew that; I didn’t need your help.

We love this man.

Easter 2012

So, in short: Keep your drunk-driving, bad-choice-making, family-endangering behind off the road and away from my family.

The Wife of the Most Amazing Man Ever

(PS: I didn’t cuss in this letter, but let it be known: I have thought all of the letter words since the accident happened. Just sayin’.)

40 replies on “An Open Letter to the Drunk Driver That Hit My Husband”

I have no tolerance for drunk driving. If you can afford to buy a few beer you can afford a cab home. I hope they throw the book at him! It’s also relief to know your husband was not harmed from one individual’s careless decision.

BLAH! Are you okay? So glad FireDad is okay!! I still am blindsided by moments of anxiety over the girls’ accident last year, so if you ever need to vent to someone who’s been there, even after you think you should be okay (silly “should be’s”), you can vent me to me all you want. I get it – sometimes you need to not think about it and sometimes you need to re-process everything.

This post made me get all teary and I have never ever gotten behind the wheel of a car after one drink, let alone a few. I hope the drunk driver finds this post. There is NO excuse for what he did, even if no one was killed or even seriously hurt. There’s no “oops” in driving drunk. You did a much better job staying away from the “letter words” than I would have in the same situation.

So glad FireDad’s okay!

I am so sorry your family and friends even have to deal with this. We recently had a fire set to our house and u understand the anger and sadness and the OMG he could have died. What’s sad is that there seems to be no regard for human life anymore. The perpetrators get off with a slap on the wrist and life goes on. Back to set fires or kill someone while drinking and driving. I hope justice is served for your family. I am so glad your husband is ok…

I’m with Victoria’s View – I have no tolerance for drunk drivers. Plenty of cabs give free rides if you can’t drive. Down here at least, the bar, club, or even the individuals who served and let the person leave while intoxicated can be brought up on charges.

Bravo for staying away from Letter Words!

First, let me say that I am beyond relieved that your husband and all the other innocent victims are ok.

I have no tolerance for drunk driving. My uncle was killed by an underage drunk driver when I was 16. It devastated our entire family. I had to watch my mom tell her parents that their son had been killed. It is perhaps the hardest thing I’ve ever witnessed.

I hope and pray that this person will never again get behind the wheel while intoxicated. I hope that people will read this post and stop a drink driver next time. Or will think twice about getting behind the wheel.

I’m so grateful that your husband made it out OK. I hope that everyone else involved did, too. I am grateful for your children, too. The sad thing is that people do not learn until they have either suffered the consequences of a drunk driver or themselves have been punished for their drunken actions. You should keep in contact with the police department and find out what is happening with the case. Make sure that your husband makes his statement if he hasn’t already, and don’t be afraid to call the police department or the DA assigned to the case. You have rights.

My husband wasn’t so lucky. I had the worst night of my life a year ago as my husband laid critically injured on the side of the road while his friend died beside him. I know what it feels like to not know if your husband will live because of someone else. It’s not OK. Unfortunately in our society today, it’s accepted. I have no idea how to change it.

So sorry about what you’ve been through. I truly hope that the others in this accident aren’t badly injured.

i am retired firefighter/medic and my heart goes out to your family i think these drunk drivers should be ordered to pay for damages child support and evrything else they can throw at them and 2nd offenders should be locked up for a few years than made to pay for taking a life\
or destroying someones normal life .. i am zero tolerance with drunk driving

So sorry to hear of your husband and someone that made a bad choice. I as well deal with the anxiety of my fire fighter when he is out on a call… and now he is in the oil fields and I worry daily of what could go wrong. When he is home the pager is on and waiting to go out. Prayers that your husband heals and be back to normal soon and prayers to you and your family that you can stay strong during this time.

youll never know how much this letter in the words you used snd in the manner you wrote it mimics my life perfectly if anyone who knows me read this theyd have thought i wrote it. simply beautiful.

To the wife of the most amazing man ever,
I am right there with you. My hubby and I are just like you two. We are soulmates and complement each other perfectly. My hubby is also a firefighter, I know what it means to try and not worry when the bell goes off. My daughter loves going to see him at the firehouse and try on his helmet, he is her world! I have a ZERO tolerance for ignorant people that think, “oh, I just had a few” is ok to get behind the wheel. I will pray with you for Mr. drunk driver.

Sara D.

This is an epidemic on our nation. We romance it in advertising. Going to a sporting event or concert,when you leave you are putting your life in the hands of thousands of drunk drivers. Bars with drink specials and happy hours. When are we really safe on our highways or even the streets we live on. I feel your pain. I have no answers

From a Firefighter who has a Wife and the potential for chirldren all I can say is I’m glad your Hubby is ok and THANK YOU for your words, and hopfully they go heard loud and clear. Also thank your hubby for a job well done.

My heart leaped into my throat when I read the title of that post! SO relieved and glad to know that all is well for your special man. Considering that “there are no adequate words” for the condemnation of drunk drivers, you said this really well! Big hugs to the whole Fire Family!!!

This was beautiful and scary at the same time. I lost my adopted son to a drunk driver almost 2 years ago. It has been bad, but what is almost worse is the fear that it will happen again to someone I love. My son was disabled severely at age 8 by a drunk driver and killed 35 years later by another drunk driver while asleep in his bed at his group home. Thanks for writing this! I pray that lives will be saved.

I do not even know where to start , I’m in shock, sick to my stomach, angry etc…I think this story ( your letter should be posted in every bar ) for every drinker to read.. You said all of it with such class and I am so sorry for you and your family, I am a very non- confertational person and hate conflict, but this is where I draw the line .. I hope he rots and I will remember this story forever.. I will also have my adult kids read this so hopefully they will learn something from it.. God bless you and your family xo

Fucking drunk drivers. There was an accident here just a few weeks ago where a woman was in a high speed chase with police simply because she didn’t want them to know she was driving drunk, apparently, and she hit a car, killing a young mother, and injuring that woman’s husband, infant daughter, and father in law. It’s situations like that where you can’t help but hope that the guilt is just eating them alive. :(

I had to bury a firefighter that was a reservist. He was a rescue EMT from the local fire station too. I was angry that his life had been taken, and the person that was responsible got away with it. Heaven has blessed you and your family, and I was moved by your letter. I would have lost control enough to use those “letter words”, and am humbled by your ability not to do so. Mostly, I am prayer-filled that your husband is okay, and that it appears that all of the “victims” are relatively fine. When I was in the USN, I used to use my free time to cruise the bars, make sure my drunk shipmates made it home to their beds. I really hope that Mr. Drunk reads this sobering letter. The local police, someone, needs to get a copy to him, before he gets off with a warning, and tries to repeat his…um…indiscretion. I salute you ma’am, and your husband for being the superhero that my son would look up to (he adores firefighters.)

First of all..thank God everyone is okay. Second, what a powerful letter you have written.

I’m an EMS provider in a small rural district. Last call I went on was a drunk driver call. Luckily, no one was injured. I found out later that this was going to be this drivers third..yes THIRD felony DWI. I find it hard to perform my EMT job, which by the way is volunteer, with the compassion I normally have for my patients, when it is this type of situation. Granted, if there had been any type of injuries, I would have stepped up to the plate 150%, as I always do. But, in the back of my mind, there still is that ‘angry place’. It’s the ‘what-if’ effect.

Thank you for writing your letter and make your hubby THANK YOU for what he does. He is a hero…

Avoidable tragedies are the worst. Before I was even old enough to drive or drink I had to watch my friend be laid in his grave at the young age of 16, because of his own wrong choices. It’s something I will never forget, and something I wish people didn’t have to see for themselves before they get how serious it is.

So glad that he was unharmed. And that others weren’t hurt in the accident. Though a little part of me wishes that he (the drunk driver) had been hurt and learned a valuable lesson.

There is just no excuse for drunk driving. None!

So glad your hubby is ok. i know what you are going through! Almost lost my hubby weekend after Thanksgiving, broke all his ribs on his right side and sternum and punctured his lung from such an accident. Worry over driving has always been in the back of my head since my dad was an EMT. Heard all the horror stories, but when it hits home, it is different. Now Hubby Can’t stand being on the highway at all. You NEVER KNOW WHO AND WHAT IS BEHIND THE WHEEL OF OTHER RIGS! I hope and Pray Mr. Drunk Driver reads this and learns before he does it again and does THE unthinkable.

OMG!!!!!What a letter. Now that the tears have stopped I can write. First of all , I come from a family of firefighters, including myself. I volunteered for 25 years. I know how you feel every time your husband leaves on call…..fear of what he will encounter. God Bless him that he wasnt seriously hurt. Hopefully the guy that hit him will get his act together but you never know.

I literally feel your pain at this.On April 20,2007 ,I was struck by a drunk driver while enroute to a structure fire. To say that it was life changing is an understatement ,my injuries will remain with me for the rest of my life as well as the effects that the accident had on my family and my fellow firefighters who assisted in getting me out of the car. To say that the fire service is a big family doesn’t mean a lot to most people until you see them come together to help you in any way they can.
The judge that tried the case told the driver that she was a danger to her community and put her in jail for seven months.

Your letter to Mr. Drunk Driver is moving. I am so glad your husband is ok. I can’t stand them. I have been missed a few times by drunks getting off the train drunk and then climbing into their cars..I think the penalties need to be way stronger than they are. They never think they are “wrong”, and really aren’t concerned for other people. I have lost a husband (to illness) and it is life changing. This type of loss can be prevented, it is sensless. Thanks for the great article.

I’m just catching up on my reading and oh holy hell! I really have no words that are appropriate for family reading so I’m sure you’ve already thought all the things I’d say. I have no patience for DD and I can personally think of 0 instances where it would be okay. I’m so glad he is okay and I hope those other people are too. I hope that person has learned a lesson that will never leave his heart or mind and that he will not only not do it again, but he’ll become an advocate for sober driving.

This same situation just happened to me today. And like you, I was lucky, my husband thanks to his quick thinking was able to speed up and swerved just enough that catastrophe was averted for him. The cops and firefighters on scene told me, had you husband not been so proactive this drunk woman would have T Boned him at 80 mph in the drivers door instead of the middle to back of the car. She, the drunk driver,at this point, is in a hospital with serious head injuries as she was thrown from the car. The accident happened at 4 in the afternoon on a busy street where she avoided two other cars. That phone call from the police stopped me dead in my tracks. I was bathing my dog, poor thing was left dripping wet, my life flashed before my eyes. My husband, as yours, is my whole world and I know people like him more than me because he is just that Wonderful. Thank you for your letter as it helped me realize I am not a mean and hateful person as I hold no sympathy for her. She had a long record of traffic violations, no driver’s license and no insurance and empty beer cans on the floor of her car. I surely don’t wish her dead..but I sure hope she never does this again..should she survive.

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