Troubled Lives and High Speed Chase

11:32 AM, Feb 8, 2012   |    comments
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GAITHERSBURG, Maryland (WUSA)--"I drank to make myself feel better. That was my medication."

We will call him Jim.  Not his real name.

"It got worse and worse and worse. It got me in more and more trouble," says Jim.

On a cold December night, at the Gaithersburg police station, we met Jim shackled to a table.  He'd been picked up on his fourth DUI.  "Yes, I could hurt somebody."

He confessed that some day, he will probably kill someone.  Not with a gun or knife, but by getting behind the wheel, loaded with alcohol.

"I just say the same thing all the time. I'm going to kill somebody. I don't want that," says Jim.  "I don't even fathom that thought. But I know it's in me. It's in me because I'm sick. I'm sick."

The self-described worthless loser agreed to share his story because he doesn't want young people to make the same mistakes he has.

"I almost died three weeks ago.  I drank a fifth of vodka. I was puking in my own puke and it was going down my esophagus."

And worst of all, it was witnessed by his own son.

"My wife said, 'He's alright. He's just drunk.'  My son said 'Mommy, he's really in bad shape.'"

Jim is 55-years-old, though he looks significantly older. He started drinking when he was 14. Drinking, he said, for fun. Because it was the "Thing to do."

How does he describe himself now?  "Pathetic. I find myself pathetic. Look where I am."

Now, he's lost his job, his home and his marriage is in shambles.

Hours earlier, we were riding in a Montgomery County Police cruiser in downtown Silver Spring.  What began as an apparent hit-and-run escalated into a wild, high-speed chase.

For more than five minutes, 9NEWS NOW cameras and police followed the speeding driver as he barreled onto the Beltway and then I-270.

Then word came over the police scanner the driver had crashed.  "He's wrecked."

But not before hitting another car and spinning out of control.

Transported to Suburban Hospital, 9NEWS NOW learned he was 42-years -old and had just been released from prison after serving a 23-year sentence for armed robbery.

When he got behind the wheel this night, he was legally intoxicated.  This time, he didn't kill anyone.  Next time, he might. 

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