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FN David Haught.

ON APRIL 1ST, I WENT OUT drinking until about 0515. I had to get home and change to get to work, so I started driving home. As I got near the gate, at around 0600, I fell asleep. I crashed into two cars and sideswiped a third: a minivan with a mom and her 9-year-old girl on her way to school.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The image etched in my mind is the little girl looking around and trying to figure out what happened to their car, while her mom was screaming and holding her.

The police put me through the sobriety test. I blew a 0.18. They arrested me and took me downtown, where I blew a 0.11. Then they processed me and put me in holding, where I spent eight hours trying to get my head on straight.

I was scared to call my chief, but I eventually got up the courage. He helped me find a bail bondsman, and I posted bail for $1,500.

On April 3rd, I went to captain's mast and the DRB. I lost the orders I had just gotten to CTN "A" School. I had a week to find a chief who would stand up for me and guarantee that I would never drink and drive again, or I'd be immediately ADSEPed. It sounded impossible, and I was prepared to get kicked out of the Navy. But I found an EMC and began working to redeem myself with the crew and with the captain.

Following advice and tasking from my new mentor, I created presentations and gave training to duty sections. As part of ship's indoc, I talked about the consequences of drunk driving. Being a model for what not to do wore me out, but I pushed forward, helped by praise and encouragement from my peers and khaki.

On May 23rd, I went to court with no lawyer.

In August, I attended SARP Level 1. I enjoyed all the information and activities -- they showed me the consequences of heavy drinking on yourself, your family and friends.

After almost a year of recovering, every time I see a beer I'm reminded of the incident. I immediately think of a plan and set it into action before drinking anything.

The Cost: 60 days of restriction, half a month's pay times two, reduction in rate. $420 fine. License suspended for a year.

During the sentencing, the judge said "six months jail time," and I was about to cry. Then he added, "... suspended," and my heart leaped with joy.

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Title Annotation:on his drunk driving experience
Publication:Sea&Shore
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2010
Words:424
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