A Lame Excuse For Driving Drunk

Susan Page
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Wednesday - May 03, 2006
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I’m mad. And that could just as easily be spelled MADD for Mother’s Against Drunk Driving. We think we’ve come a long way in the fight against this crime in Hawaii, then this.

Lost actress Michelle Rodriguez gets a mere slap on the wrist for her 2005 drunk driving violation in Kailua: a measly $500 fine and five days in jail. I’m appalled ... and mad. Read on and you’ll wonder, as I do, why she was allowed to drive at all last December.

She recorded a blood alcohol level of 0.145, nearly twice the legal limit, after being stopped for weaving in and out of traffic and crossing into a bike lane. The report says she also screamed profanities at the arresting officer.

In court last week, Rodriguez’ defense was allergy medication. According to her, it makes her “manic” when she drinks and, so it appears, drives. (Then, perhaps, don’t drink or don’t drive?)

This lame excuse wouldn’t be so laughable if she were a first-time offender. But she has a litany of traffic violations against her, both here and in Los Angeles since 2004: a hit and run, in which she got in the lap of the man she hit, made a proposition, then fled; three traffic violations she pled no contest to, including drunk driving. She completed an alcohol program and is on a three-year probation. Twice in 2005 she was cited for driving over 80 mph on Hawaii roads.

Why did she choose the five-day jail time over community service the Kaneohe judge offered? AP reported her lawyer suspected it was because “she has a hard time even going out for a meal without being intruded upon for an autograph or photograph, it’s really difficult for her to do community service.”

Oh, puh-leez. This actress, who got lucky on a hit show, has read too many of her own press releases. Zsa Zsa Gabor did months of community service in a shelter for battered women in the late ‘80s after her conviction for slapping a policeman.

And remember how Magnum‘s Tom Selleck never felt “intruded upon” in Hawaii no matter how high his star rose?

In December 2004, a report by the national physicians’group End Needless Death on Our Roadways (END) found that Hawaii was the second deadliest state in the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths - meaning 53 percent of our traffic fatalities are alcohol related! (Only Rhode Island was worse, 55 percent). The number of deaths here in 2004, 60, decreased from 71 in 2003, but it’s still too many. Just ask the parents of a teen just about to graduate or the child left motherless.

Drunk driving kills innocent people. Children get no chance for a bright future. Mothers lose their pride and joy, fathers the apple of their eye.

Drunk drivers cripple teenagers, often both mentally and physically, stealing any chance at a normal life.

“I just want to get back to my life,” Rodriquez said after sentencing, showing little remorse for the potential harm she could’ve caused, or the potential good she could have accomplished.

I truly hope the life she gets back to is not in our state. She may be tromping around on foot in Lost, but if she hasn’t lost her driving privileges, Rodriguez on Hawaii’s roads is scarier than the show’s shadowy creatures that come out of nowhere and kill.

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