LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Drunken driver wants others to learn from tragedy he caused

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It doesn't always happen to the other guy and it won't happen to you if you don't drink and drive.

December, four years ago, I was driving home drunk when I hit a car head on. Vehicular homicide. Yes I killed an innocent person who was totally undeserving to die.

Now, three years into a 14-year prison sentence, I want to tell you that it's not getting any easier to live with. There is no fixing this. Nothing I can do and no amount of prison time can ever make this right.

I'm not writing this looking for forgiveness or for anyone to feel sorry for me. I'm hoping I can tell you that magic something that will make you stop and think before you drink and do what I did. The special words that make you remember it's not just the one who died whose life is affected. It's affecting their family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. The list is long.

All are left behind to pick up the pieces, spiritually and financially. How should you feel if some drunken driver took your husband, wife or one of your kids from you? Yeah, me too!

Nobody drives drunk and plans on hurting anyone, but it happens. The fact of being sorry isn't going to help much.

That sick feeling I got when I was first told what I had done is still with me today. Everything reminds me of it in one way or another. There is no looking your peers in the eye, just shame, consumed with guilt, no self-respect. Self-worth is right down there with the burden I have become to my family. Like I said before, being sorry doesn't help much.

Now here I am, a guest of the state. I live with the rest of the trash you read about in the newspaper.

So what I need from you, while I'm here doing my time, is to learn from me and the disaster I've turned my life into so this doesn't happen to you - and more importantly you don't do what I did to those undeserving many.

It only takes one time. There is no way to change what I have done, but there is a chance for you! The change has to be right now.

Tonight could be too late! I would rather have eaten a bullet that morning to stop what happened that day. If only I had known.

The only way to know is to please ... please don't drink and drive.

Ray Lindgren

Stafford Creek Corrections Center

Aberdeen, Wash.

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