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He Drank. He Drove. He Died.

Other Editors Say...

The suicide of repeat drunk driver and Michigan state representative John Kivela is, like most deaths, sad.

But it also carries a clear warning: Drinking and driving can and will end lives.

The day before Mr. Kivela killed himself, he was arrested under Michigan’s “super drunk” driving law. It was his second such arrest in two years.

His blood-alcohol content was 0.17, more than twice the legal limit; in November, 2015, it had been 0.238, nearly three times that limit.

Mr. Kivela’s district was on the Upper Peninsula, and he typically drove the 395- mile commute from Lansing every week.

Both his arrests were in Clinton County, just north of the capital, along the route home.

In a Facebook post after her father died, Shelby Kivela said her father was trying to “juggle his disease”– alcoholism– “somewhere he could hide from the people– unfortunately in a very unsafe place, his commute.”

No, not “unfortunately.” Mr. Kivela’s choice was not just unfortunate. It was criminal. It was potentially murderous.

It was by driving while drunk, not merely by drinking, that he exposed himself and others to an unnecessarily high risk of a fatal car crash.

And all this was for “somewhere he could hide”?

The fact that Mr. Kivela thought his life was ruined suggests that either his community or Michigan’s laws took drunk driving (or at least repeated “super drunk” driving) seriously. That’s only as it should be.–Toledo Blade



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