By Alan Sorensen
by Alan Sorensen
Thursday, May 20
Havre ambulance crews know the horrors of car wrecks first hand. They see the tragic result of kids just having fun by driving and drinking.
First of all, your heart sinks into your stomach, especially if kids are involved, Assistant Havre Fire Chief Craig Ellingson said about arriving at a traffic accident. Lots of times theyre not wearing seat belts, theyre tossed from vehicles mangled.
There are quite a few deaths weve come upon.
With spring on the horizon and high school graduation nearing, Ellingson said, this is a particularly dreadful time for EMTs (emergency medical technicians).
It seems like every year at this time something happens out in the mountains, Ellingson said. Somebodys mangled in a car wreck or possibly killed.
Ellingson said its important for kids to have fun, but without alcohol and drugs.
Thats the best way to stay alive, thats for sure, Ellingson said. Statistics show that drinking and driving dont mix.
Ellingson said he believes that most of the traffic accident calls fire department EMTs go on involve drunk driving.
Alcohol gives a false sense of security where you want to speed and do things crazy, he said. Zero tolerance is tough, telling kids not to have beer.
He added that the alternatives are worse.
If youve got alcohol on your breath, (police) arent going to mess around, theyre going to write you up and take you to jail, Ellingson said. And everyone else in the car, even if they dont have alcohol on their breath, is going to be ticketed theyre going to jail.
The least that can happen is a underage drinker and driver will lose his drivers license and his car insurance premiums will multiply.
Ellingson said teen-agers or underage adults who volunteer to be designated drivers are looking for trouble.
A lot of times, (the drinkers) get to screwing around in the car and disrupting the driving, he said. We see broken bones, head injuries, lacerated kidneys.
Ellingson said death may not be the worst result for some involved in drinking-and-driving traffic accidents.
Broken necks or damaged spinal cords and people can end up in wheel chairs, he said. They can be quadriplegic, losing use of their legs and both arms.