DALLAS – In the wake of the manslaughter charge against Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent, drunken driving has again reared its head in a very public, tragic manner.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 10,000 die each year from alcohol-related incidents on the road. The agency says that amounts to one person every 51 minutes.
On a chilly Monday, we invited residents who were waiting to get new drivers licenses at City Hall to discuss whether the prevalent act has had an impact on them.
“It has, it really has,” said Donnell Smith, a Dallas resident who sunk into a seat opposite News 8’s David Schechter. “My friend’s name was John. John was in a car and he was under the influence, intoxicated. He ran off the road and ran into a ditch.
“OK,” he said. “John is gone and dead now.”
Brent has been charged with intoxication manslaughter. His friend, passenger and teammate, Jerry Brown Jr., died early Saturday morning after the car Brent was driving flipped on the service road of Highway 114 near Cistercian Road.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is investigating the club where Brent was allegedly drinking before the accident, a commonality following fatal suspected drunken driving accidents.
According to a USA Today Sports investigation published Monday, 177 NFL players have been arrested since 2000 on drunken driving charges.
“I have made bad decisions but I have never driven drunk,” said Dallas resident Linda Willis.
For some who participated in the interview, taking personal responsibility and pointing the finger do not go hand-in-hand.
“I don’t think there are any exemptions,” said Duche Bradley, a Dallas resident. “And for the person who may be out there and says, ‘Well, I’ve never done that,’ everybody has done something.”