Spring Break 2016

Highway One spring break crash

Photos from KSBW, Channel 8

Monday, March 21

“Don’t go there. There’s nothing you can say that hasn’t been said already. Besides, you’ll just end up sounding like Mom,” my husband / content editor said this afternoon as we started down the hill from our house.

I have to admit that last point was the most convincing reason not to blog-rant about college students behaving badly during spring break. By the time we’d walked the half mile to downtown Monterey, I’d shelved the topic.

Then, two hours later, we sat down to the evening news and watched footage of a head-on crash some fifteen miles from our house that had closed California’s famous Highway One in both directions for most of the afternoon. Suddenly, I didn’t care if I sounded like your nagging mother.

This morning, my plan was to address responsible drinking. Instead, Spring Breakers, let’s do a quick review of plain stupid and potentially fatal behavior.

Spring break crash

Photos from KSBW, Channel 8

Information on this afternoon’s accident will change as details become clearer, but seven females were in the Lexus SUV you see here. Four attend the University of California Santa Cruz. Three are college students in Colorado, my stomping grounds for twenty-six years. I did a quick online check. Both UCSC and CU Boulder just started their spring breaks. All but one of the women admitted to smoking pot. A witness claimed to have seen one throw something into the field beside the road. Police found a make-up bag containing marijuana. The driver, who admitted to speeding and veering into the oncoming traffic, had also taken prescription drugs. The only other confirmed fact at this time, a 24-year-old man in the car they hit was killed. Talk about an unforgettable spring break.

What had gotten me started on the topic this morning was a CBS report from Gulf Shores, Alabama where the town has made drinking on the beach illegal until April 17. The report, dated March 20, notes that there had been 600 arrests since March 5. A female spring breaker, surrounded by friends, told the reporter, “I know we’re being drunk and we are on spring break, but we’re still adults. We’re in college. We know what we’re doing and they act like we are children.”

College “adults,” personally, I don’t care if you drink alcohol before you’re 21 or if you toke up occasionally. But if you choose to participate in such activities to excess, I encourage you to ask someone who generally stays sober to pull out his/her phone the next time you’re blitzed. Have ‘em record you upchucking in the toilet or making out with someone you only just met. Watch the video during lunch the next Monday. When you’re under the influence, please, don’t dive into any swimming pools from the second-story balcony of the hotel. And please, I beg of you, do not get behind the wheel.

This morning, a 24-year-old man from Prunedale, California started just another week, never knowing that, through no fault of his own, this would be his last day. And seven young women, through their own choices, have forever changed their lives and those of a lot of other people.

Wednesday, March 23 Update from KION Channel 5

One of the passengers in the SUV died this afternoon. Two others are in critical condition. The passenger who threw the bag of marijuana into a field has been arrested for destroying or concealing evidence. The driver of the SUV was transferred to Standford Medical Center due to the severity of her injuries. She is being charged with DUI resulting in injury or death, Gross Negligent Manslaughter and Possession of Methamphetamine  (MDMA is categorized as a Methamphetamine).


  1. Very well written Leslie. Tragic happening. MOM is synonymous with Love. Both are often misunderstood. May you know how much you warm the hearts of others, Leslie. Blessings

  2. Good rant. Tragic circumstances.

  3. So many errors in judgment adding up to a perfect storm of tragedy. No college student needs a powerful luxury machine like a Lexus SUV, for starters. Then….cramming in six passengers. Spring break. Speeding. Smoking dope. Misusing prescription meds. Your rant was very well put, Leslie.

    • Leslie Patino says:

      Thanks, Joyce. I just hope that a few college people will read my “rant” and refrain from reckless behavior and bad decisions.

  4. Tragedy struck. To me, the real tragedy was when someone, somewhere decided “fun” is doing those activities that lead up to the accident. No one is having fun with that! I shall respond with helping provide better choices to people of all ages so that young people can see and have those choices.

  5. Eslem Torres says:

    Yo solía ser así cuando era algo más joven e idiota (que aun sigo siéndolo, pero ya menos), pero desafortunadamente una amiga murió en circunstancias muy similares a la que relatas y a partir de entonces, aunque siga bebiendo bastante y seguido, prefiero tomar taxi o Uber, pero uno aprende o toma esas decisiones hasta que una tragedia ya paso.

    Saludos desde Bracino!

    • Leslie Patino says:

      Lo siento mucho por tu amiga, su familia y sus amistades incluyéndote a ti, Eslem. Tristemente, como dices, algunos jóvenes no aprenden hasta que les toque muy de cerca una tragedia.

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