Last Friday night around 10 pm, a 37 year old man named Francisco Novela smashed his 1972 Ford Ranger truck into a palm tree near Segerstrom Center for the Arts. He jumped out of his truck and fled the scene.
The chase turned into a foot pursuit by Costa Mesa Police, who ended up saving Novela’s life. He thought he’d hop a railing near Claim Jumper at South Coast Plaza, not knowing that on the other side was a two-story drop. Fortunately for him, the police were able to catch up and apprehend him before he plummeted to his death…or at the very least, serious injury.
Why did he flee the scene?
He was scared (plus he was drunk – see what it does to a person’s judgment?) Novela later admitted he had a prior DUI arrest and was on parole.
He has been charged with DUI and misdemeanor hit-and-run.
What’s the lesson here?
At Safety 1st Driving School, we try to teach our driver’s ed students to learn from others’ mistakes and successes. When we pay attention to those things, we learn what TO do and what NOT to do. We learn to act responsibly and use good judgment. We learn to become safe, skilled drivers.
Obviously, Mr. Novela would have been wise to not leave the scene of an accident. (Do you know what to do in the event of an auto accident?) But he shouldn’t have been drinking and driving in the first place. Since he has a previous DUI, this may be evidence of an alcohol abuse problem (just speculating here). If that is the case, he will hopefully get treatment for his addiction. In any event, the court will likely order him to attend Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar alcohol abuse treatment program.
Getting convicted of a DUI (driving under the influence) is a serious matter. You’ll likely have alcohol abuse classes to attend, fines to pay, community service hours to do, you’ll have to go to court, your license will be suspended, and the DUI will be on your permanent record.
It could definitely affect your future…and it’s not worth it.
How to Avoid a DUI
Simply put, don’t drink and drive.
If you’re under 21, don’t drink at all. It’s illegal and extremely unwise.
If you’re 21 or over, BE SMART for goodness’ sake. Alcohol is a drug, so PLEASE proceed with caution.
- If you know you’ll be drinking, arrange for a designated driver, a taxi or other transportation home, or stay where you are until you sober up. It’s not hard to put a little thought into planning your night out.
- Don’t overestimate your ability to drive after drinking. Be honest with yourself and if you’re not ready, stay where you are or get a ride home from a sober driver.
- Don’t take drinks from strangers. They may contain Roofies (Rohypnol, AKA “the date rape drug”) or other sedatives.
- Do not, under ANY circumstances, accept a ride from someone whom you do not know and are not 100% certain is sober.
- Even if your parents are the last resort and you risk getting into big trouble, do it. They’ll be much happier that you called them than if you had gotten a DUI or gotten into a car with someone who had been drinking.
If you think you might have a drinking problem, tell someone you trust and seek help. You are incredibly valuable. Your life and your future are too important to waste on alcohol.
As always, at Safety 1st we care about your safety. Please be smart! Let’s make Orange County a better place – one safe driver at a time!