Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Drunk Driving

In 2010, 31% of all automobile fatalities were due to drunk driving. Tom Serewicz and his best friend were two to be included in that statistic. They weren't drinking, the other driver was.

Tom was 24 years old. He loved life and he was a man of faith who loved God and enjoyed studying the Bible. He built strong friendships in the camp and would chat with fellow campers who were feeling down. He was known for raids and plans for larger than life raids (raids are late night pranks) and even brought night vision goggles to the conference one year. Making others laugh was a great joy of his and he enjoyed clowning around. Tom was kindhearted and has been described as a good soul. His friends feel the world is a little darker and a little colder because he is gone from earth. Tom left behind his wife of nearly five years and their two very young boys. Things weren't always easy for Tom, but he was growing into his responsibilities and was a very loving husband and truly devoted father, just starting a new business to support his family.
It is in his memory that I post this blog. It is my hope that no more young women will be left widows, no more small children will be left fatherless, no more mothers and fathers will get that horrifying phone call, no more siblings will have cause to cry because of such an avoidable situation.

Tom is gone because someone made a bad choice -- the choice to drink and drive. Help stop these tragedies.

Here are a few thoughts on how:

-- Remember that your judgment will be impaired if you drink, and you are unlikely to notice. Appoint the designated driver before the party or night out. Give them your keys at the beginning of the festivities.

-- Talk to your teens. Be ready and willing to pick them up, without lectures, if they or their driver have been drinking or doing drugs. Later, you can explain your views on teen drinking but make sure that they know you are proud of them for choosing not to drive drunk and that it was the right thing to call you.

-- And teens/ young adults, make the call when you need to. Better upset parents than you dead. Taxis work, too.

-- Don't forget that if the people you are babysitting for come home inebriated, you can make alternate arrangements to get home. In fact, please do. Your parents won't mind you calling them. Trust me.

-- Be willing to take the keys. If you are the designated driver or witness someone trying to drive drunk, stop them. Sure, they might be mad. But, if they remember anything, they'll probably thank you when they are more clearheaded. And if they don't want to be your friend after that, are you sure they are someone you want to hang out with anyway? At any rate, everyone else on the road will be very pleased.

--Organize an awareness event in town, write a letter to the editor, spread the word that drunk driving is bad.

 I am sure you can think of other things. Whatever you do, thanks for keeping the roads safer.

RIP Tom Serewicz.

I knew Tom through the Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park., where he was a camper and I was a staff. He is missed by those who knew him there and elsewhere.


  1. Wonderful post. Tom sounds like a wonderful man and I wish I had the chance to know him. Drinking and driving is a major issue that needs to be given more attention. Thank you for this post.

  2. So sorry for the loss in our world. May your message reach many.

  3. I remember David telling me about his friend that died. I don't think we'd been dating very long, but he was really shaken up.

    Last night, a drunk driver crashed into a car with 2 teenage girls who were sitting at a light outside our apartment. Luckily, no one was hurt, but David went out to help anyway. It's so sad. The drunk guy looked terrified - as he should. Because so many people went outside to help, he couldn't run off, and was arrested. If only it ended this well for other cases.

    1. Oh, how frightening! I am glad David went to help, and also glad that no one got hurt and that the drunk driver was arrested.

      We were all pretty shook up by Tom's death. I was with David at the wake. So sad.

  4. Thank you for sharing this account and adding tips to help prevent accidents like these from happening again. Just this morning, there was a 5 car accident – 4 people sent to the hospital, one in serious condition. It happened at 4:30 am and the 101 freeway was shut down through Santa Barbara for several hours. Not all details have been released, but the word so far is that it was caused by a drunk driver. DUI’s ruin so many lives, and the hard part is, is that they are preventable. Thank you for sharing and getting this information out there.
    ~ Jodene

    1. Ugh, another one. Thanks for sharing this story. The more these things are brought to light, the better. But better yet when we have no more such stories.

  5. Many areas have made teen driving under the influence far more effective by choosing a 0.0% number as the only one to preclude the charge of DUI or DWI...

    1. Glad to know that things are being done.