Pretrial hearing set in supplying alcohol to minors case Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Dec 10, 2008 at 11:27 am
A pretrial hearing has been set for Feb. 25 in the case against Paul Stonebarger, 22, who was charged with supplying alcohol to minors at a party in October 2007. Katie McKewon, 20, who is serving a four-year prison sentence for the death of Laurel Alice Williams, 19, and Williams were at a party where Stonebarger supplied the alcohol. McKewon, who was driving drunk, collided head-on into an SUV on Foothill Road, killing Williams, who was her passenger.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 9, 2008, 5:26 PM
Posted by BeenThereDoneThat, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Dec 10, 2008 at 11:27 am
As I recall, the girl that died was just as drunk as the driver. How many young people knowingly get into cars with drunk friends every weekend? LOTS! A severe punishment for sure. But a good lesson for everyone else to learn from.
As for this kid on trial, I say kids being kids. Was it his fault that the drunk girl got into her car. Maybe so, maybe not. But sending him to Santa Rita probably wont teach him anything a dead friend hasnt already.
Posted by lo, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Dec 10, 2008 at 12:05 pm
Somehow this whole situation seems completely unfair. As BEEN THERE DONE THAT wrote,
As I recall, the girl that died was just as drunk as the driver. How many young people knowingly get into cars with drunk friends every weekend? LOTS.
Exactly. Katie killed her BEST FRIEND-- Having to live with that for the rest of your life is punishment enough. Although I understand why she's in jail, I do not, however, know why Paul is being persued. Laurel was nineteen when she died. Old enough to drive, vote, legally be declared an adult, why is she herself not responsible for THIS action? If anything else were to have happened, she would be the only one left with the consequences. It was her idea to drink and her idea to leave with someone who was drunk.
I guess I'm not sure why it seems everyone else is being blamed for this accident, when Laurel is the only one to blame for getting into a car with a drunk driver.
It's a bit of a cop-out that all these other people are having to pay for one single person's mistake.
It's pathetic that Paul is being put on trial when he bought alcohol for himself as well as others who were of age. It was the underage kids' fault for drinking when they know they're not legally allowed to. The bottom line is, no one is to blame for Laurel getting into a drunk driver's car other than laurel.
Please leave the other parties out of this, so you can move on and grieve the loss of your daughter.
Posted by very sad, a resident of another community, on Dec 10, 2008 at 2:48 pm
I think a few points are being missed here. The whole point of Paul going to trial is being missed - he broke the law! He is not a kid - he was over 21 when he bought the liquor. He knowingly bought it for underage people to drink. He knew that was what the purpose was when he brought it into the party. People have to be able to get ahold of liquor in order to be too drunk to drive. It is true, he did not make any one drink - but he made it available, didn't he?
As far as Katie going to prison - helloooo. She made the choice to drink underage and to the point of being drunk (which was not a uncommon event - hence prior problems with the law), drive while drunk (having liquor in the car when the accident happened as well), she made the decision to let someone get in her car when she was impaired and SHE made the decision not to wear her seatbelt (Laurel had her seatbelt on!!). You know Laurel did not put a gun to her head. Yes it was a bad choice to get in the car - one that is being grieved every single day (belive me - I am closer to this than any of you).
No one wants revenge - all that is wanted is for this to never happen to another person and family again!! When do people start learning that drinking and driving is deadly - no matter what age you are! Gee, I guess the only way to wake up people is to the let the ones that have done it in the past just get away with a "now, now - that is against the rules" and be one their way. Yeah, that will teach everyone - NOT.
Posted by lo, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Dec 10, 2008 at 3:59 pm
very sad: "He is not a kid - he was over 21 when he bought the liquor". Yes, I couldn't agree with you more, but Laurel and Katie were also adults.
I also believe you're misunderstanding what I've written-- Maybe I just conveyed it badly. I believe that the drunk driving laws are far too lenient in the States. In other countries, DUI is a no tolerance policy, and I strongly believe that we need to if not fully, partially, adopt their laws.
My point, however, is to only state that Paul shouldn't be held accountable for the unfortunate mistake Laurel made. Katie, on the other hand, does deserve prison for the crime she has commited-- which she is currently serving.
And one more thing directed at very sad: I am so sorry for your loss, my friends and I grieve Laurel every single day of our lives. Still though, I can't imagine what it must feel like to lose someone as close as you clearly are to Laurel.
I just don't feel right about putting someone on trial who doesn't deserve to be there. My point is that time and memories would be better spent thinking of Laurel than trying to put these unaccountable third parties in jail. What will be next? The party goers?
In no way am I trying to come across as rude or insincere, I love Laurel with all my heart, and miss her more than anything; but I am learning that to let go and move on is the best thing for everyone.
Posted by very sad, a resident of another community, on Dec 10, 2008 at 4:14 pm
To Lo - I appreciate what you are saying. But - Paul is not on trial for the death of Laurel. He is not on trial becuase Katie decided to drink and drive, he is not on trial becuase underage kids decided to drink and drive, he is not on trial becuase Laurel made some bad decisions. He is on trial because he broke the law - the law stating that it is illegal to buy and supply minors with alcholol.
I just don't understand why what he did is "okay". When do we as a community, state, country and world finally take the stand that enough is enough. Drinking and driving is wrong - it hurts so many people besides the drinker. I don't care what age you are. But allowing someone who can legally buy the stuff, to give it knowingly to people that can not get it on their own is wrong. If we keep allowing it and turning a blind eye to it - when does it stop? Why is it ok he enabled all the kids drinking at this party - yes agin it was their decision to do it - but it has to be available to for someone to drink it. If a bar or liquor store knowingly sold it to a minor - that would be against the law as well - why not in Paul's case?
Posted by Reality stinks, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2008 at 3:50 pm
This is a horrible situation for everyone involved. Initially, I thought it was unfair to try the young man, as he was close in age and obviously a friend, not some person 20 years older buying young girls booze. I also felt the girls were legally adults and have to be accountable for their actions. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt, it's the right thing to do. Plain and simple, he broke the law. If we don't prosecute here, where do we draw the line? Would be charge if the kids were say 16? Then do we say, well, this kid is more mature than that kid? We can't -- we need to follow the law and take a stand before we bury more young kids. In addition, we really need to start going after the parents who buy booze for the underage kids. They bury their heads in the sand time and time again. They are they real pieces of garbage. I feel for the young man, as well as the young girl in jail -- both have suffered tremendously in losing a friend (I lost one of my best friends in high school). But their suffering is nothing compared to that of the girl who died's family. Until we all walk in those shoes, we really can't emotionally comment.
Posted by Ninja0980, a resident of another community, on Dec 11, 2008 at 4:07 pm
I have to agree with many of the posters here. There is never an excuse for drinking and driving. However, having said that, when a passenger dies, I find it harder to view it as tragic and harder to sentence the driver to a long prison term. Is there a drunken passenger law? No, but putting all the blame on the driver in cases like this is also wrong. Just as the driver made a choice to drink and drive, so did the passenger in making a choice to get into the car with the person. To completly absolve them of responsblity may sound like the right thing to do but it isn't. We are responsible for the choices we make. The one young lady made a choice to drink and drive and it killed her friend. The other young lady made a choice as well, to get into the car with someone she knew had been drinking and it cost her her life.