A young couple, parents of a 4 year old ran into some trouble New Years Eve when they tried to drive home after drinking at a New Years celebration. Danielle Firth of Peabody was apparently driving the car when it hit a pole near Perkins St. Police responding to the scene found the father of her daughter carrying the girl away from the scene, both bleeding from cuts apparently from the accident. The father, Ronald Dominguez, explained that he was taking his daughter home and struggled with police, who arrested him for assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Both the child and her mother were evaluated at the hospital and found to not have any serious injuries. The Department of Children and Families was notified and has begun an investigation. At the scene, Firth was noted to be slurring her words and was described as smelling of alcohol. An open bottle of vodka was found on the front seat of the vehicle. She has been charged with drunk driving, child endangerment while driving drunk, driving to endanger and failure to stay within marked lanes.
The couple had apparently been drinking at the home of Firth’s sister. When they tried to leave they were invited to sleep over, declined an invitation of a cab ride and insisted they drive themselves home despite being urged not to. This is an all too familiar predicament that many family members and friends find themselves in when they realize someone should not get behind the wheel of an automobile after drinking too much. With judgment impaired from even a small amount of alcohol, trying to stop someone from driving can be awkward at best and can turn into a physical confrontation at the worst. So what can you do to prevent a situation, like this one?
1.Plan ahead of time. If people are going to be drinking in your home, ask them for their plans before the evening begins, when their brain is still firing on all cylinders. Invite them to sleep over if that is possible. Provide a designated driver and let them leave their car at your house overnight.
2.Tell people before they arrive for the party that everyone will surrender their keys when they walk in the door. A sober (non-drinking) person will decide at the end of the night if they will get their keys back. Offer rides home, cabs or sleep-overs if needed. Of course, this can be over-ridden if the person has a spare key.
3.Shut off the drinking earlier. Some people can regulate their drinking, especially when they are going to drive, some have a problem with this. If you only provide a small amount of alcoholic beverages or put them away a few house before the party ends, the chances of people trying to drive home drunk is decreased.
4.Last resort-open the hood of the drunk person’s car (without them knowing it) and disconnect the coil wire from their distributor cap. Or in more modern cars without distributor caps, disconnect the spark plug wires. This will prevent their car from starting. It’s still better then sending them off to hit a pole.