Please Don’t Drink and Drive

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Letter and photo from George Monroe, Spokesperson for the Southern Humboldt Fire Chiefs Association. This originally appeared as a comment on an earlier story:

20151124_031945_001-01It is the time of year to be doubly conscious while driving. The roads will probably be slick, there will be people driving way too fast for conditions on the roadway, there will be people tailgating, AND… there will be people who are altered on drugs and/or alcohol, as was the driver of this vehicle. He blew a .145 on the CHP’s breathalyzer device. That is almost DOUBLE the legal limit. Of course you and I will not be driving under the influence… because we CARE about the possible outcome of that type of behavior to others and ourselves. Everyone knows that it is dangerous as well as illegal.

The vehicle had more than “major front end damage”. It was completely demolished. Basically, it was turned into a pile of rubble. How the driver survived with just the injuries he sustained, is beyond me. He bounced off three or four trees skinning the bark from one side of their trunks. The vehicle finally was stopped by three young fir trees, which were spaced closely together.

After about thirteen years of responding to traffic collisions on The Avenue of the Giants,, Hwy 101, and sometimes Elk Creek Road, rarely have I seen the trees lose the match. Although few years back a fully loaded log truck speeding down Elk Creek Road, actually did take out a swath of young redwoods. It looked like a logging show was going on down there The driver was ejected and ended up “waaaay” down in the creek bed. He flew a really long distance and sustained major injuries. He, also, was very lucky to have survived that crash. His injuries were such that I suspect his life is much different now than it was before the accident. Some of us get “do overs” and some don’t.
I can travel down the Avenue of the Giants and point out tree after tree where people perished or were severely injured. In the vast majority of incidents, speed along with drugs and/or alcohol were a factor.

If you see me driving slowly down the highway maybe you will understand why. Conversely, if you see me driving fast, you probably will also understand why as well. Please get OUT of the way when you see red lights flashing. It could be a matter of life or death for someone.

Last night’s incident was dispatched at 2:50 am. It ruined a nice dream. About five years ago, after spending all afternoon preparing a full Thanksgiving feast with my partner (the turkey finally came out of the oven at about six pm ), she and I sat down to enjoy our meal. Literally, as I was taking my very first bite of roasted turkey, the three beeps of a dispatch pre-alert came over the radio: ” beep beep beep…TRAFFIC COLLISION Hwy 101…overturned vehicle into the bank. Person trapped inside…extrication required….
It was very dark with rain coming down. It took a long time to get the woman out of her vehicle. Except for the CHP officers, who were already on duty, more than a dozen firefighters, an ambulance crew, a tow truck operator, and maybe some Cal Trans folks (I can’t remember for sure), responded to this incident. Alcohol was a factor in this incident.

Bottom line: Give yourselves, the other people on the road, and your first responders a break this holiday season.

Drive at a safe speed and don’t drive if you’ve been partying.




  • But I can everyday other than thanksgiving , RIGHT ?

  • We unpaid professionals and paid alike could write books about the images that come and visit us in the dark of night. And know this. we do revisit the horrors we see. We are not immune.
    You, the public, are who we serve without hesitation. There are enough calls we go to without those added because someone made bad choices such as driving under the influence.
    So listen to George. Be a responsible driver. Please do not add to the slideshow we relive in the dark of the night.
    Happy Holidays. We hope to not see you.

  • Thank you kym I feel like a reminder is a good thing especially because so many locals perish this way almost daily. May They all rest in peace and I hope everyone has a safe holiday and cold season. Stay cozy y’all!

  • Good read, good reminder.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Responding to a fatality can not be easy! In any field- ambulance, fire fighter CHP or towing company it would take a toll on someone. Have a safe and blessed holiday.

  • Driving when you are too tired can be very dangerous as well. My mother was killed by someone who fell asleep at the wheel, & many friends have destroyed their cars due to falling asleep at the wheel–fortunately they survived.

  • Back before dui laws, it wasn’t even an issue. Nanny state and herded sheep in uniforms have made it one.
    Nothing wrong with drinking beer driving down a backroad, don’t let them tell you it is.
    Party on, Garth.

    • You must be a troll, if not I’m praying for you. This county looses an unfortunate number of young people to the so hum past time of drinking and driving and it needs to end! If you want to drink be a good boy and do it without endangering my life!!

  • First off, thank you George.

    I’ve read a few comments that said if George doesn’t like what he sees that he should quit. Don’t ever quit George. He knows the joy and priviledge of saving a family that has just been hit by a drunk driver. (More than just a few occasions) Saving a helpless person’s life or property is it’s own reward. I know how many times that George has been thanked by people that have been helped by his dedicated benevolence.

    It is not a small task, nor a small accomplishment, to become a fire chief and medcal first responder. The training, and time needed is a large hunk of a firefighters life. Damn few people have the qualificatins to be a first responder, even though all you have to do is be a physically fit, responsible, sober person, willing to study and train endlessly.

    Driving is priviledge! It is not a right. If you drive drunk it is a matter of public record. If you don’t want your name in the headlines with your blood alcohol content. Stay sober or stay OFF the road. Who better to make that statement than the man who has been to the scene of the results many, many times. Thank you George!

    • Dude quit it!

    • Every first responder I’ve seen is overweight. Back in the 70s dui wasn’t an issue, now we’re flooded with cop and first responder propaganda as to why their hand should dig deeper in our wallets.
      People wearing uniforms don’t have souls or human rights.
      World peace would break out if flying saucers landed and took all the uniforms to another planet and left us alone.
      When I see a uniform it makes me think they need to go back to their slum.

  • I lost my beat friend down there to that BS

  • It’s bound to happen , the mindless ones don’t know any better, a way of population control by ignorance which is certainly infinite, unlike space, which is certainly not proven to be infinite , but again argued by ignorant ones that never even left their county,..
    It’s life, is all…
    It’s only sad when innocent folks get harmed, I mean the ones that aren’t in the drunks car that haven’t figured out that their own life is worth more then a free ride or being cool for the moment.
    It’s life, generation after generation ignorance prevails.

  • Please everyone don’t ruin your holiday, stay safe,be alert arrive alive and if your going to snowy weather places take chains x-cloths and water.Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.Hug your Family

  • Hey, if you are going to drive drunk/buzzed or crazy, as with not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle, please only do yourselves in and make sure you have checked the box on your driver’s license application to donate your organs, with the exception of maybe your liver. That way you will take yourself out of the gene pool and possibly give others less fortunate a chance at life.

  • The kid that was driving that car drive’s drunk all the time. Hopefully he learned something this time!! Probably not though! Looks like he got real lucky thankfully.

  • Youn never hear about anyone crashing from cannabis. The fact that alcoholic beverages and guns are legal but cannabis is not tells one all they need to know about our sick, twisted society. The best revenge is living in the Emerald Triangle, where cannabis is imbedded in the fabric of life.

    • The government controls every thing we see or hear. They have control of nearly every portion of life any more….the one last thing all you eco legal urbanite underachievers had was weed and you all jump on the bandwagon to give them control over it too…it was all they didn’t own….great way to lead right off the edge. I hope it turns out better than I think it will.

      • They beg for slavery.
        George Washington never existed, this masonic matrix is all an illusion. How many of them would wonder why the statue of liberty is a goddess called, ISIS?
        You have to be a free mason to be a first responder.

  • When we first moved here, someone told us that “we all have a redwood with our name on it. Hopefully, we never find it.” If we do, it will be in the form of embracing it with our vehicle. As for me and mine, we will never find ours if I have anything to say about it.

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