Cloudy
47°
Cloudy
Hi 55° | Lo 34°
Ray Duckler

Ray Duckler: Tis the season to have fun, stay safe

  • Andrew Beauregard stands for a portrait on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.  <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Andrew Beauregard stands for a portrait on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Andrew Beauregard stands for a portrait on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.  <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Andrew Beauregard stands for a portrait on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Andrew Beauregard stands for a portrait on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.  <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Andrew Beauregard stands for a portrait on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.  <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

Andrew Beauregard admits that 10 years ago, when he crashed his scooter while drunk and nearly died, he thought he had a big red “S” on his chest and a red cape on his back.

He was captain of the Concord High lacrosse team, solid at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, on his way to study engineering and play college lacrosse, ready to conquer the world.

Worst of all, Beauregard was 18, “bulletproof,” his father, local businessman Mike Beauregard, said yesterday.

Well, it turns out Andrew was mortal, and this is the time of year when kids learn that lesson the hard way. It’s when they graduate high school, their thoughts running wild like a car around a sharp curve.

They party like it’s 2099 and then get in a car, as the driver or a passenger, destined to change their lives and others’ forever.

“I had to learn everything all over again,” Beauregard said this week. “Walk, talk, eat, use the bathroom. I had to learn to live.”

He’s done well since the crash, but more on that later. Right now, let’s turn to Lt. Timothy O’Malley of the Concord police, whose warnings carried the wallop of blue lights flashing in a rearview mirror.

First off, the minimum blood-alcohol level to be

charged with driving while intoxicated is 0.08. For those younger than 21, however, that number drops to 0.02.

“If you smell a beer, you’ll be over the limit,” O’Malley said. “All you need is glossy eyes or the smell of beer on you, and you will be charged.”

O’Malley also said that the internet makes it virtually impossible to hide what you’ve done.

“Prospective employers and colleges are searching,” O’Malley said. “Parents have called me and told me their son won’t get into college because he was arrested.”

Next, O’Malley moved to the cost, the dollar-and-cents part of a DWI conviction. “A huge expense,” O’Malley said.

So let’s turn to local DWI lawyer Dan Hynes, who laid out the damage for us: up to $5,000 for a lawyer; a $620 fine; about $1,000 for a DWI class, needed to get your license back; a spike in insurance premiums.

Want more? If you’re younger than 21, you lose your license for a year, minimum.

Remember, DWI is no longer merely a violation; it’s a crime.

Okay, back to Beauregard, the source who can teach you the most about thinking before acting over the next few weeks, during this festive time of year.

He sat in The Capital Deli, a family business, after hours with two friends, 25-year-old Caroline Gentilhomme and Mariah Cochrane, 20. He works at the deli full time.

Once, Beauregard was a big man on campus at Concord High. He helped the lacrosse team win two state championships, the only two in school history, serving as captain his senior season, 2004.

Beauregard was invincible then, the star jock who sat in an elevated area, both symbolically and literally, in the cafeteria, the place reserved for the school’s coolest people.

“I was unstoppable,” Beauregard said.

He had it all, an engineering major at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., where he’d play lacrosse and party across the Hudson River, in Manhattan.

“It felt great,” Beauregard said. “I was ready to have some fun.”

On June 27, 2004, he went to a friend’s house, driving the Honda scooter his parents had bought him for graduation, and got drunk on beer.

“We knew he was going to a friend’s house,” said Mike Beauregard, who also owns Things are Cooking on Main Street. “We knew he might have a few pops. We told him to park his scooter. He said, ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ ”

At 2 a.m., Beauregard hopped on his new scooter and drove to a market to buy cigarettes.

“It probably wasn’t even open,” Beauregard said.

He crashed into a utility pole downtown and needed seven hours of surgery. He remembers nothing about that night. His father got the call about 3 a.m.

“Worst nightmare to get called at that time,” Mike said.

Doctors told Mike and his wife, Diane, that their son had little chance of any normal brain function, and he might not even survive.

With his brain swelling, doctors at Dartmough-Hitchcock Medical Center removed part of his forehead and skull to relieve pressure.

Beauregard spent two months at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and two more in a rehab facility. He tried to play college lacrosse but tired easily, and he couldn’t keep up with his course work at three different colleges, including Stevens.

Now 28, his left eye is permanently closed from nerve damage caused by the accident, and he’s got a semicircular scar that runs ear to ear on his forehead.

Flip that scar upside down, however, and it matches the smile that Beauregard usually wears. He is, in a word, happy, grateful that things turned out the way they did.

“The happiest person in the world,” Beauregard declared. “It’s a miracle to be where I am now.”

He still tires easily and takes a nap each day. He says his friends and family had it worse than he did during those dark days. They didn’t recognize him, and they had no desire to watch the film of Concord’s win in the state championship game, held just weeks before the crash.

On the positive side, Beauregard never had another drop of alcohol after that awful night. He appreciates life more than before, and his friends say he’s a nicer person now.

Still, his father remains haunted. When asked what he’d tell graduating seniors who are feeling invincible these days, Mike said, “It was 10 years ago, and I still get a chill lying in bed.”

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304 or rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)

Legacy Comments1

Thanks for letting everyone know some of the potential penalties of DWI. Remember, if you are going to drink, don't drive. If you are going to drive, don't drink. Dan Hynes www.nhdwiguy.com

Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.