“I’m drunk and I can drive good,” he said — after the crash. Not so good: back in July in West Phoenix 14-year-old Miguel Maldonado dashed through a red light and collided with an SUV and put three innocent people in the hospital – one of them a 3-year-old.
It’s hard to find anything redeeming in the situation: the driver was underage, unlicensed, and drinking, and judging from his statement after the fact, unrepentant.
But he had an accomplice who has not been indicted, or even caught. Last week it was revealed how the boy got access to alcohol in the first place: Maldonado paid a stranger three dollars to buy him beer and margaritas. Maldonado was drinking beer when he plowed through the red light.
That stranger bears some of the responsibility for this terrible crash. Had Maldonado not been able to buy alcohol, perhaps it wouldn’t have happened.
There are reasons we don’t sell alcohol to minors, don’t allow 14-year-olds to drive at night and without supervision, and don’t allow anyone to drink and drive. This disaster was a chilling demonstration of what those reasons are. We can credit some of Maldonado’s bad judgment to his young age, but what of the adult who bought his drinks? What possible reason, apart from the three dollars, can he have had for putting alcohol in the hands of a minor?
For the record, Arizona does not allow anyone to sell or furnish alcohol to minors – with no exceptions.
For reasons that are all too clear.