By on October 26, 2016

helicopter (Ted Velas/Facebook]

Remember the good old days? When men were men, women were grateful for that, and drunk drivers weren’t running into aircraft? Well, it’s #THE CURRENT YEAR, as noted pint-sized pansy ass John Oliver reminds America’s idle rich every Sunday night, and those innocent times of yore are long gone, replaced by a world in which even fire ants need a safe space.

But there’s no space in Gallup, New Mexico that is safe from drunk drivers, as 26-year-old Glenn Livingston recently proved.

Sheriff’s deputies were at the scene of a rollover near Gallup, NM. The scene was barricaded with emergency vehicles so the people in the car could be flown out via helicopter. Having heard some tales of the “checkerboard land” near Gallup, I think it’s reasonable to guess that the rollover was alcohol-related, although the KOB4 news story only hints at that.

But why have one drunk-driving incident when you can have two?

Frank Hernandez was at the scene and witnessed the crash. Hernandez works for Speedway Towing in Gallup. He was at the site of a crash to tow away a vehicle that had rolled over — the wreck that the medical helicopter was responding to.

“Then I noticed after we got the vehicle picked up, this black Jeep flew past us,” said Hernandez. “I was thinking, ‘What the heck is this guy doing?’ Because they had people out there trying to stop traffic, already he almost hit two ladies.”

Hernandez says the Jeep plowed through the barrier around the medical helicopter before hitting the fire truck and then the helicopter…

Hernandez says the accident wasn’t even a surprise.

“You’ve got to be pretty drunk. I’ve seen them where they’ve taken vehicles off the road and they don’t know they did that, or not,” said Hernandez.

Everybody survived the incident, thankfully, although one wonders how Mr. Livingston is going to pay for that helicopter. Perhaps more important is the fact that this sort of thing doesn’t exactly fit the current narrative on traffic safety, which paints drunk driving as a long-vanquished foe to be profitably overlooked in the future so that enforcement efforts can focus on the mostly imaginary “distracted-driving crisis”.

The problem with that narrative is that not even the most feverishly twisted statistics can effectively equate the occasional texting-related fender-bender with the absolute murderous carnage that is the natural product of intoxicated vehicle operation. Drunk driving is still a real problem.

In fact, it is the problem facing motorists in many parts of the country. Places like Gallup, where the long roads to nowhere are prowled by the drunk and disorderly. You can say what you like about people on their iPhones but I betcha that most of them would notice a helicopter before they hit it. But where’s the profit in going after people like Mr. Livingston? He doesn’t have anything left to take. Follow the money. But be careful; doing so will make you want to have a drink or two.

[Image: Ted Velas/Facebook]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

60 Comments on “New Mexico Man Raises The Bar For Drunk Driving Sky High — By Hitting A Helicopter...”

  • avatar

    I wonder how long it takes to pay for a helicopter when you’re a bum with a DUI in your record. That’s a lot of time spent washing dishes!

  • avatar

    Who says drunk driving isn’t a problem? (Although I think cops should focus on catching actually drunk drivers instead of lowering the BAC limit.) Who makes a profit off of opposing distracted driving, and how do you know it is not a real problem? (My father’s ’86 T-Bird Turbo Coupe met its end with him in it when an early adopter of the cell phone plowed into him at 40 mph when he was stopped at a red light.)

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Jack says. Or more precisely, Jack says that other people say. It’s news to me too, but without that statement the second half of the story would be superfluous.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Here you go

        • 0 avatar

          “When driving conditions and time on task were controlled for, the impairments associated with using a cell phone while driving can be as profound as those associated with driving while drunk” does not equate to “paint(ing) drunk driving as a long-vanquished foe.”

          I could go on at length about what is wrong with that particular study by Strayer (or more to the point, how its findings are being misused) and other research that he has done that contradicts his distracted driving = DUI thesis.

          But nobody credible is claiming that DUI is a big whatever. Not even Strayer is saying that, while NHTSA dedicates research and resources to sending the opposite message.

          • 0 avatar

            I don’t think officially it has but the awareness campaigns for distracted driving now heavily out weigh those for DUI at least here in the Northeast. campaigns against distracted driving far outweigh DUI campaigns both in advertising and police checkpoints. by as high as a 10-1 ratio.

  • avatar

    You mean how is Mr. Livingston going to pay for it, not Mr. Hernandez.

  • avatar

    Why would the tow truck driver (Mr. Hernandez) who was a witness to the crash, pay for the damage caused by the drunk driver in the Jeep?

    Mr. Jack, what?

  • avatar

    You can take the entire genre of smug, partisan, pretentious, smarter-than-thou, “informed”, scripted talk show hosts and toss it in the trash, and I wouldn’t bat an eye. Ditto with the O’Reillys of the world.

  • avatar

    “the mostly imaginary “distracted-driving crisis”

    If you’re referring to deaths caused by distracted driving, I might give you a pass, as I haven’t seen the stats. But distracted drivers are at the least increasing traffic congestion and slowing everyone down here in Atlanta, as I imagine they are in other urban areas.

  • avatar

    I’m sure this will ignite the case for summary execution among some groups.

    Certainly no excuse for this any way you put it.

  • avatar

    One part interesting news, nine parts clickbait. Jack, you can do better than this, and lately you have been.

  • avatar

    Ah yes almost as much fun as when I worked at the Home Depot here in Gallup and we had to keep anything with even the tiniest amount of alcohol (of any non-potable make you blind and kill you kind) locked up so that it wouldn’t be shoplifted and consumed by an alcoholic.

    • 0 avatar

      “any non-potable make you blind and kill you kind”

      Nawww, it just takes hardly any of it to get you buzzed. You’re just looking at things like a pessimist… the glass is half full! Half full!

  • avatar

    Dem Duke boys are at it again.

  • avatar

    If that ASTAR B3 is totaled a 1 million dollar policy wont cut it. Try 3 million.

    Back in my military days I did a crash investigation course in Albuquerque . First day of class the instructor told us all to be super careful off base. “assume everyone is drunk and uninsured” we were told.

  • avatar

    “the current narrative on traffic safety, which paints drunk driving as a long-vanquished foe to be profitably overlooked in the future so that enforcement efforts can focus on the mostly imaginary “distracted-driving crisis”.”

    I doubt many municipalities, to whom DUI is a cash cow, subscribe to that narrative.

    My cousin is a lawyer who works part time as a magistrate on weekends. Although she’s very tough on anyone in her court for an alcohol related driving offense, she says that DUI is a racket. Often people convicted of DUI have to regularly get breath tested for alcohol. According to my cousin, the testing companies, and likewise companies that run things like “anger management” classes, are usually owned by someone connected. She says it’s a popular gig for spouses of judges.

    • 0 avatar

      No conflict of interest there, for a judge to assign someone to a for profit class owned by their spouse?

    • 0 avatar

      DUI is easily the most profitable crime for the legal system. Not so much for municipalities (some profit there though), but more so for attorneys (like Ronnie’s cousin?). It helps that those passing the laws are also attorneys.

  • avatar

    youtube [dot] com/watch?v=L_QIO9B3dCg

  • avatar

    As to your last question: It’s a numbers game, and psychological one.

    There are a lot more texter/phoners than drunk drivers. They weave and wander just like a drunk.

    Key here is that a drunk driver, up to a certain point, knows they’re drunk and at least try to compensate. A texter/phoner, thinks they’re fine. and wonder what the fuss is about.

    flip a coin – they both totally suck. and will both kill you.

  • avatar

    Jack, you know I love you more than my luggage, but you need to get off this thing that distracted driving isn’t a problem. It’s a HUGE problem, even if people aren’t killing themselves and others at quite the same rate as drunk drivers do.

    I’ve personally been rear-ended twice by people texting – nobody hurt, but $5K in completely unnecessary property damage. I’m not proud to say that I rear ended someone while fiddling with the stereo in college, which is just as bad as texting. My cousin’s wife managed to RUN INTO THE SIDE OF A TRAIN while texting. Seriously, she was driving along a perfectly straight road on a bright sunny day where you can see the railroad crossing that has lights and double sided gates for more than a mile, and managed to drive a Volvo XC90 directly into the side of the (moving at 50mph) Amtrak Downeaster. Thankfully, since she was driving an XC90 (and evidently has 9 lives) she got no more than cuts and bruises, but on what planet can this not be considered a major problem!?! What if instead of a train it had been a school bus full of kids? That’s a lot less obvious than a moving train! Just dumb luck she isn’t dead, or didn’t kill someone else.

    And if nothing else, the cop that is busy writing a ticket for texting while driving is too busy to be writing you or me up for speeding.

    • 0 avatar

      Thank you, this is SO true. Based on what I’ve seen people can hardly drive as is, never mind adding alcohol or a phone into the mix.

      As for the drunk clown that hit the helicopter – I say drop him out of one… from around 10,000 feet up.

    • 0 avatar

      The argument is basically that people were always distracted (like your stereo comment) phones are just a new distraction and haven’t added significantly to the problem. Last I saw there wasn’t much data to prove that phones are making it much worse, but there may be now or soon given time to study it.

    • 0 avatar

      2nd thank you, krhodes1. A good friend of mine lost her father to a drunk driver. Another good friend almost got killed by a girl who “just looked down at [her] phone for a second.”

      This is not an either-or issue.

      • 0 avatar

        Amazing that anyone just doesn’t get this .

        I was sitting in stopped traffic to – day when a Woman banged into the back of the Mercedes next to me ~ I looked over and *after* the crash she was _STILL_ looking down and texting….

        There’s no fixing STUPID .


  • avatar

    Was I the only one disappointed after the headline that the drunk didn’t have to catch air and hit a hovering helicopter? And then having it turned into yet another rant about how phone use while driving is TOTALLY SAFE! just because JB felt emasculated when he got a warning/actual ticket, full on disappointment.

  • avatar

    Driving after sun set any where in New Mexico is foolhardy to the extreme .

    Worse on The Rez.

    Doesn’t anyone here have access to the N.M. drunk driving stats ? .

    They used to be published and after sun set one out of every five opposing drivers would be drunk .

    Not my sort of percentages .


  • avatar

    WTF… “as noted pint-sized pansy ass John Oliver”… I’ve never found your James Michener length novels very interesting and unless I’ve missed your meaning with that statement I’m done wth you Jackass Barruth.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Sorry it took me so long to respond but I was curled up in a corner crying because you called me “jackass”

      • 0 avatar

        You should be Curled up somewhere. Geesh! What a duffus. You need an editor! I HATE your editorials and the only reason I looked at this one was because wasn’t 10 pages of verbal diarrhea. I won’t be back… JACK!

  • avatar

    If that was a newer AS350, as it appears to be, it’s about a $3 mil machine. Not totaled, but damned expensive to repair.

    I learned not to drive drunk on several occasions. I thank the good Lord above that I never hurt anyone — not even myself — during those lessons. Hell I never even wrecked anything. Just learned when I got home “wow, I never want to do THAT again!”

  • avatar
    Testacles Megalos

    Can we give the drunks loaded guns to play with instead of cars?

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • jalop1991: 1995 called. It wants its Nissan Altima back.
  • Dave M.: It’s in their title – Automotive News, not Automotive Discourse. What if they really don’t...
  • dal20402: Depends on the BMW. The X5 M d-bags still drive them, but all the 440i and M4 d-bags went to Tesla because...
  • dal20402: The local Hard-Charging Executive™ types absolutely love their X5 Ms and GLE63s. A more exclusive car in...
  • dal20402: This interior would have looked great at the time, but ’90s interior design themes just didn’t...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber