Blog·Checkup

'I got away with murder': former drunk driver

Sue Kusick from Victoria, B.C. shared her close call with a collision while she was drunk driving many years ago. An alcoholic, but past the point of driving now, she thinks that stiff penalties would have prevented her from getting behind the wheel.
A signpost signifying that someone died due to a collision caused by driving under the influence in New Castle, Delaware, U.S. (Getty Images/National Geographic RF)

In our discussion on the battle against drunk driving, Sue Kusick reached out to us from Victoria, B.C., to share her experiences as a former serial drunk driver. Kusick says she has come close to taking lives in the past, yet was never caught or charged. In the years since, she has sought help and now advocates for stronger punishments for drunk drivers.

Listen to Kusick share her story with Checkup guest host Susan McReynolds:

Sue Kosick called Checkup to bravely admit her history of impaired driving, and a close call that she once had. 4:05

Susan McReynolds: What's your take on our topic today?

Sue Kusick: While I was in my twenties, I was a serial drunk driver. I drove tens of times in blackouts. I was an alcoholic; I still am. I thought of only one person: myself. I remember one time driving on a residential road at 90 miles an hour [145 km/hr] in a 30 mile an hour [50 km/hr] zone and a fellow pulled out from a stop sign into my path and he turned and saw me. I'll never forget his face. The only thing that went through my mind was 'he's going to die and I'm not.'

SM: What happened?

SK: Nothing! He got out of the way and I kept driving. All those years and all those times drinking and driving, I was never stopped and I was never charged. I never killed anybody, but I guess you could say I got away with murder...

Through Alcoholics Anonymous, I have met other drunk drivers, those who have killed and gone to jail, only to be released and kill again. The judicial system should be putting these people in jail for great lengths of time.

SM: Would it have deterred you?

SK: If I had been stopped and charged in my twenties, I would have done anything to minimize the consequences. But at 62, I still drink but I don't drive, I understand now that this crime requires harsh punishment. Drinking and driving is a choice and if I made that choice, then I should face the consequences. I deserve the maximum sentence.

Sue Kusick's and Susan McReynolds' comments have been edited and condensed. This online segment was prepared by Ilina Ghosh.

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