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By Jordan W. Charness

She was beautiful, blonde and 32 years old, but looks just 23. She also has the tiniest scar running from her hairline to her nose. It’s not even noticeable unless you look really hard and the light is just right. But it was still enough to make me ask her for the story behind the scar.

She got a faraway look in her eye and said that she got it in a traffic accident caused by a drunk driver. I asked her if she had been the driver, and she quietly answered, “No, it was my father.”

It happened a long time ago when she was just starting high school; it was holiday time, and everyone was full of holiday cheer. Back then, more people let others leave parties without properly monitoring how much alcohol they had had to drink. On that night, her dad was driving with her mom in the front seat while she and her little sister sat in the back.

She does not actually remember how the accident happened, but happen it did. There were no other cars involved. Her father lost control of the vehicle, most likely due to the amount of beers he had consumed. He, her mother, and her little sister escaped the accident unharmed. She, however, was not so lucky.

She ended up unconscious at the side of the road with her scalp torn almost in two. The ambulance came and took her to the hospital. The police asked her parents who had been driving, and her mother decided to say that she was the driver. Her father did not want to go to jail for driving while impaired, so he did not dispute his wife’s version. Her little sister was too young to venture an opinion at all.

When she awoke from a semi-conscious state three weeks later, she was asked what had happened but could not really remember the accident at all. She said that her father had been driving but since she had head trauma injuries and was still fairly young, her version of the events were not given much credibility.

It took several months for her to heal and the plastic surgeons did a very good job, leaving only the tiniest of scars on her forehead. Other scars, however, were less visible but went deeper. Her father never knew quite what to say about that night and never brought it up again. But every time he saw the scar on her forehead, another part of him died inside.

Her father passed away about a year ago, and she says that every time she looks in the mirror and sees that scar she remembers him all over again – the good and the bad.

Nowadays the police would probably investigate cases like these much more closely than they did back then. Car “accidents” do not just happen: there is always a reason for a loss of control. It might be because of alcohol, weather, fatigue or distraction. But nowadays, the police do not just let it go.

If you think that you’ll be able to convince the police that someone else was driving when you were actually the cause of a crash, you’d better think again. And if you help someone else with a cover-up story to try to hide their guilt, you too could be charged with a criminal offence.

We all carry scars of one sort or another: some are physical, and some are deep inside us. Don’t let this year’s holiday cheer scar you or those you love for the rest of your life.

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