A Sobering Reminder

Megan A. Perry’s story is a tragic one—but one that is worth retelling as we move into summer party time.

May 15, 2008, was supposed to be a happy day for Perry. The 25-year-old woman from Wilmington, Delaware, was to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding in Sea Isle City. After a rehearsal dinner at the Deauville Inn in Strathmere, Perry caught a ride back to Sea Isle with groomsman Jayson Maykut, 29.

The drive from Strathmere to Sea Isle is a straight shot down Landis Avenue. It should have been a quick, easy drive. But not for someone who had eight to ten cocktails and didn’t feel impaired, as Maykut initially claimed in court.

Maykut wrapped the car around a pole, killing Perry. He pled guilty to a charge of vehicular homicide on April 3 and faces up to four years in jail.

It sounded all too familiar. I was 17 when I had my encounter with a drunk driver. I was a block from home when a big black truck slammed into the rear passenger side of my car. When he got out of his truck, the driver screamed that I didn’t have my blinker on. He smelled. He wore a Coors Light pin with blinking red lights. I found out the next day, when I went to the police station to give my statement, that he had just turned 21.

“Don’t drink and drive” has been drilled into all of us. Still, we hear people insist, “I’m fine” — when we know they are not. I’ve heard people brag about not remembering how they got home last night. But this is not something to laugh about with friends. Would Maykut have joked the next day at the wedding how he’d cruised home just fine? Would Perry have giggled to the bridesmaids how she was glad she got home OK even though Maykut looked a little worse for the wear?  

So as the warmer weather rolls across New Jersey and summer days mean later nights, keep their stories, and mine, in mind. We don’t need any new sobering tales.

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