By Lenn Robbins
The Super Bowl, like New Year’s Eve, is one of those annual euphoric events that distract us from the messiness of life. It’s a needed break, especially this year, when thousands have died from COVID-19 – and drunk drivers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,551 Americans died from drunk driving related crashes in 2018, the most recent year such statistics are available.
Getting behind the wheel when you’re impaired is like playing Russian roulette with six cylinders instead of a six shot, but worse. In Russian roulette, you only hurt yourself. An impaired driver is a threat to every other person on the road or, in this terribly sad story, on the side of the road.
Chiefs outside linebackers coach Britt Reid, son of coach Andy Reid, was involved in a multi-car crash Thursday night in Kansas City that left a five-year-old child with life-threatening injuries, according to a crash report obtained by Fox 41. A four-year-old child also was injured but not as badly, according to the report. Reid was hospitalized with stomach pain, although his injuries are not believed to be serious.
The only thing that matters the day before the Super Bowl is not who wins the game, or how Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes play, or that Britt Reid will not coach in the game, but this:
Let us all hope, with the sincerest of hearts, that those two children survive and go on to live happy and healthy lives.
The rest is life sprinkles except for one horrific reality. Britt Reid never should have been behind the wheel of his white Ram Laramie Sport that plowed into two cars that were parked on the shoulder of an on ramp on Interstate 435, one exit from the Chiefs practice facility.
He should never have had a license. He forfeited that right more than a decade ago.
Thursday night was not the first time Reid foolishly played bartender, mixing alcohol with driving. According to published reports, Reid pled guilty in 2008 to DUI and drug charges after he left a store and had difficulty locating his vehicle in a parking lot. That’s a special kind of impaired.
The previous year he pled guilty to flashing a gun at another motorist. And Thursday night, according to a police officer’s statement obtained by ESPN, Reid acknowledged having had 2-3 drinks (I’ll take the over) and taking the prescription drug Adderall.
I’m no psychologist and have never met the man but based on that dubious resume it’s not a reach to say Reid has some issues with alcohol and drugs, and possibly with guns and rage. It doesn’t make him a bad person, just a flawed one like most of us.
Clearly, Reid needs to work on himself, not helping the Chiefs outside linebackers improve.
Reid is 35, 30 years older than the child who suffered life-threatening injuries. He’s graduated from Temple University, maybe went to a prom at Harriton High School on Philly’s Main Line and hopefully exercised that most cherished American right and voted, among so many other life celebrations.
He still has a sober and fulfilling life to look forward to if he’s willing to look in the mirror. Thus far he has not.
Reid already has served one prison sentence for his past mistakes. That wasn’t enough of a get-straight-now experience. Nor was the 2012 death of his brother Garrett, 29, to a heroin overdose.
Sunday evening I’ll plunk myself down on the couch and hope to watch a thrilling Super Bowl LV, highlighted by the play of two of the best quarterbacks to have thrown a spiral. The beer will be cold. The car keys nowhere to be found.
I’ll hope those two children are recovering fully. I’ll hope Britt Reid faces his demons and doesn’t blink. His parents have already had to do the unthinkable – bury a child.
Which brings us to this unfathomable and unacceptable statistics. In 2018, 231 children 14 or younger were killed in car crashes involving alcohol impaired drivers. Most of all, I hope Super Bowl LV is remembered as the game that sparked a national reckoning to end drunk driving