June 22, 2012

If only I’d just seen ‘Twilight’

Commentary by Senior Airman Toby Demarigny
56th Maintenance Operations Squadron

On a Thursday night in July 2010, my wife and I decided to go to the movie theater to see Twilight. Since we arrived early, we decided to get some drinks at a restaurant near the theater. It took longer than expected, so we missed our movie and changed our plans. We wanted to continue to drink, so we drove to a bar close to our home. I didn’t get hammered. I only had about four or five drinks.

Ironically, I didn’t get pulled over while I was driving home from the bar. Instead, it happened a couple of hours later on my way home from picking up pizza. The police officer originally stopped me for speeding. When he asked me if I had anything to drink, I was honest with him. I really didn’t think I drank enough to blow over the limit. But I did — just barely. The next thing I know, I was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence.

Although this happened almost two years ago, I’m still dealing with the consequences. It happened off base, so I didn’t tell anyone. I paid more than $5,000 in attorney fees and kept stressing about what would happen if the Air Force found out. Well, a year-and-a-half later, they did.

In December 2011, my case was turned over to the Air Force. The civilian court thought this was a better alternative than to keep pushing my court date back. I was a staff sergeant, but not anymore.

In addition to being demoted and losing pay, I received an Article 15 and was placed on a control roster. The control roster prevented me from testing for staff sergeant, which could put me at risk for high-year tenure. My license got suspended on base for a year, which is a huge inconvenience. I had to take my son out of the child development center since I wasn’t allowed to drive him there.

If I could go back and do things differently, I would have informed my chain of command from the get-go. Better yet, I would have skipped the drinks and gone to see the movie.

I really hope others can learn from my mistake instead of having to learn from their own. Please don’t drink and drive — not even just one.

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