Dear Readers,

Several weeks ago, I asked for your help to stop a college student from driving drunk. Thank you for the responses. The first one I’ve included is a handwritten letter from a convicted drunk driver serving time. The rest are from people who have been impacted by drunk driving or are just plain upset. I’ll post them all at www.HelpMeHarlan.com. Thank you!

Dear Drunk-Driving College Student,

Before driving drunk again, please read this letter. After reading the article in the newspaper, I felt a strong need to reply and give you some feedback on drinking and driving. Before you laugh at my attempt, please note that I was once like you. I say this because I thought the very same way you do. I would go out drinking and not want to leave my car overnight, not have to walk, not have to pay for a cab and not have to ask other people for help. I drank and drove many times throughout a five-year stretch. It got to the point where I actually was convinced that I was a “good” driver because I never got caught or was in any accidents. Well, as everyone knows, if you break the law enough, you eventually will get caught – which I did. I got three DUI charges and only got a slap on the wrist for all of them. So, I continued to do it. I then got a fourth DUI and got charged with first-degree DUI and was sentenced to 55 months in a Minnesota state prison. I served 38 months in prison before getting out on parole. This woke me up because now, I have wasted years of my life rotting in a cell for driving drunk. During my journey through prison, I met a lot of people who killed someone while drinking and driving. I am thankful because I never hurt anyone, but I could have and I would’ve never been able to forgive myself. I urge you to really slow down and think about what you are doing, and how you could really impact your life and the lives of others around you by drinking and driving. You never know what could happen, but do you really want to wait to see what happens (and possibly end up sitting in a prison cell like I did) before you open up your eyes and stop driving drunk? I hope this letter helps you look at what you’re doing, because I’ve been there and done that and just want to help others from making the same mistake. Thank you for your time reading this.

Michael B.

Dear Drunk-Driving College Student,

Next time you decide to drive buzzed, please think about my cousin John. He was a bartender, great guy and a college student — that is, until he was hit by a drunk driver while driving home after work. He was 22 years old, perfectly healthy and probably like you and your friends. His mom and dad had to make the decision to take him off a ventilator. He’s dead because someone didn’t like walking home, asking for a ride and leaving his car in a strange place. I will never forget the phone call from my uncle, telling me that my cousin, the same age as me, was suddenly DEAD. Please don’t do that to another person. Please.

Write Harlan at harlan@helpmeharlan.com or visit online: www.helpmeharlan.com.