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John R. Holmen, West Fargo, Published July 10 2012

Life lesson might have saved lives

What a terribly sad and horrible tragedy. A young, vibrant, healthy family from West Fargo on their way to Bismarck killed by an alleged drunken driver. I hope and pray that the victims didn’t suffer. If, in fact, the driver of the wrong-way vehicle was drunk, why was he driving? Why does anyone drive drunk?

When I was a freshman in high school, my mother taught me a most valuable life lesson. I grew up in a small town in northwest North Dakota, and on one indelibly unforgettable early morning at 2 a.m., my mother roused me from my slumber and walked with me to the scene of a horrific car accident that had taken place two blocks away from our home, minutes after the accident had occurred.

I witnessed a dead body being extricated from the carnage of a one-vehicle car crash. The victim’s chest was crushed and his face was unrecognizable and there was blood all over. There were numerous empty beer cans in and outside of the totaled vehicle. Fortunately, there were no other vehicles or people involved in this accident.

My mom didn’t say a word to me as we walked back home. She didn’t have to. I learned a lesson that early morning long ago, and I made a vow to myself. I promised myself I would never drink and drive. I haven’t.

If every young boy and girl were lucky to have a mom like mine and were taught a firsthand life lesson such as mine, maybe, just maybe, this young, vibrant, healthy family from West Fargo would be alive today.