Friday, February 17, 2012

Drunk Driving and the Newly Found Wisdom

Doug Chittum
I feel bad for Doug Chittum this morning, but dammit! if you drink and drive, you're going to get caught and it's going to screw up your life. Simple as that.

Doug was sentenced yesterday, after pleading no contest, pretty much to time served (eight days in the county lockup), but the real punishment here is the loss of his reputation and his $115,000 a year job as director of economic development for Roanoke County. He is no longer eligible to work for a government, according to a story in a Roanoke daily paper.

I'm sure his family and friends are embarrassed and the county lost a good and loyal employee who was late in his career (he's 58). Doug still has a job with a private economic development company, but his salary dropped about two thirds.

Back during the bad old days when I was drinking and driving on a regular basis, I was caught three times and probably could have been caught 1,000 more. This was before drunk driving was considered a serious offense and I spent a total of two nights in jail (one a wedding night, but that's another seminar). I wish there was some way I could apologize to everybody who was hurt by all that, but I can't and never will be able to.

What Doug realizes today, and what I finally learned, is that justice comes at you quickly, unexpectedly and with an unemotional force that can be devastating. I'm sorry for Doug, but I am happy he was caught because my guess is that it will be good for him and for us in the long run. He's still a decent guy, but now he has another level of wisdom.

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