Dictionary 12. Unhappy Birthday

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A drunk driver speeding along in his SUV on the 60 freeway last night killed three of four people in a sedan. The sedan had slowed to a crawl because of construction work on the 60. Four lanes were merged into two. The Department of Transportation crew was making repairs to a three-mile stretch of highway. Hundreds of bright orange traffic cones guided the merger. Four heavy duty trucks were parked in the emergency lanes. Their brightly glowing signs said, "Slow. Be prepared to stop. Construction ahead." Vehicle traffic had slowed to about 3 mph.

Missing all of these warnings, the drunk driver, going at least 50 mph, plowed into the sedan. The sedan driver, a computer programmer, was a recent immigrant to America. In the passenger seat was his wife, and in the back seat were his 6-year-old daughter and his 8-year-old son. It was 9 p.m. The family had been at a restaurant to celebrate the little girl's birthday. They never knew what hit them.

The impact of the collision caused the sedan to explode in flames. Somehow, the sedan driver managed to crawl out of the car seconds after the explosion. Third degree burns covered much of his body. His chances for survival are slim. His life, as he knew it, is over. His loved ones were burned beyond recognition. The car was a skeleton of metal.

The 28-year-old drunk was not only unhurt, but was able to escape from his smoldering SUV and run away, leaving two whisky bottles behind. The police tracked him down this morning. He claimed that his brakes had failed. It was revealed that he had four prior convictions for driving under the influence in the past 10 years.


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