The Edmond Sun


May 19, 2009

Saving lives, changing lives

EDMOND — EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a five-part series on the consequences of addiction and substance abuse.

Addiction or abuse of alcohol can profoundly affect those who choose to use the substance and others. Following are some local examples:

• At 8:07 p.m. on Nov. 30, 2002, a car being driven by Matthew J. Halbrook, age 23 at the time, went airborne over the railroad tracks near Coffee Creek and Broadway. At an airbag-clocked speed of 88 mph — the posted speed limit was 45 mph — Halbrook’s car slammed into the side of Sam and Crystal Payne’s car, shoving it across the intersection into a utility pole.

Sam and Crystal, both 24, were killed instantly. Three days earlier, they had learned that Crystal was pregnant with their first child. The offending driver had been at a party, which consisted of food, beer and watching the OU-OSU football game. Marijuana and a prescription drug also played a role in the crash, according to the police report.

• Edmond Police say the city’s social host ordinance, aimed at curbing underage drinking, is making city streets safer. During 2007, the law’s first year, 71 individuals were arrested. Last year, that number fell to 42. Those arrested gain a criminal record and negative publicity in area newspapers.

• On prom night, April 30, 1999, Shawn Billbe, of Yukon, picked up his date, Sara Williams, of Edmond. After the prom, the couple headed with about 60 of their friends to the agreed-upon hotel. Then Sara heard a knock on the door; Shawn had been in a car wreck. Hours later, he died. Within sight of the hotel, on the way back from a nearby convenience store, he was broadsided by a drunken driver with two previous offenses.

• About 180,000 Oklahomans need treatment for alcoholism and about 20,000 need both drug and alcohol treatment, according to the 2006 Transformation State Incentive Grant needs assessment.

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