19-year-old driver arrested in fatal Foothill Drive crash Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Nov 8, 2007 at 12:52 pm
Katie McKewon, the 19-year-old driver of a Ford Mustang that was involved in a head-on collision that killed her friend Laurel Williams, also 19, was arrested last night, according to police.
The arrest follows toxicology results that came back earlier this week showing McKewon's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit of .08, according to Lt. Tom Fenner of the Pleasanton Police Department.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, November 8, 2007, 12:39 PM
Posted by Resident in Pleasanton, a resident of the Foothill Knolls neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 2:10 pm
Tragic for sure...Drinking all night and no one around to say "hey no you can't drive yet"....because alchohol in the wrong body doesn't care...It takes lives, breaks hearts, the wreckage is horrible...Please teens in Pleasanton and everywhere...think before you drink...hand over the keys FIRST, call a cab FIRST, call for a ride FIRST...if you must drink...please.
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 2:16 pm
...which makes me wonder...who the heck dropped these girls off to their car and could they not tell Katie was drunk?!? How much more effort would it have taken to drive them to their respective homes instead of their vehicle.
Surely, this person, too, used horrendous judgement.
Posted by Karen, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 4:09 pm
Oh...I see the story was updated from the original one I read. My questions have been answered now. Thank you Pleasanton Weekly writers.
Shelly, you pose an interesting question. I wonder if that includes the "persons of interest" mentioned in the story.
I am wondering, does Amador or Foothill have programs and student clubs such as SADD (students against drunk driving) and Friday Night Live (a high school club that sponsors alcohol free events on Friday nights?) I am familiar with the education efforts offered by the Pleasanton Police Dept. and MADD, but just wondering if there are any student run clubs at the Pleasanton schools.
Posted by Just Wondering.., a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 4:20 pm
I am wondering what she was doing in Berkeley at the time of her arrest?? Why wasn't she at home, or turning herself in? I know that if my child was in the same situation, there is NO WAY I would even let them leave the house....let alone travel to Berkeley.
Posted by no name, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 4:21 pm
I knew these girls, and parents all over are blind to the drinking, the serious drinking that goes on every weekend in this town...Always blaming kids that are "the bad ones" or come from broken homes, when this behavior is in every type of family, and in Pleasanton alot of these parents that think they are all that and their kids are perfect....They are not paying attention to what is going on....But the truth is you can't control a 19 year old, you can't ground them and they make their own unfortunate choices.
Posted by PToWN94566, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 5:10 pm PToWN94566 is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Thank you No Name for pointing out that this happens in everyday families. I was in high school only 8 years ago and the people that I saw doing the drugs or drinking came from wealthy families- remember the movie Traffic? While that was just a movie, Pleasanton DOES have many teenagers like the characters portrayed in that movie, whether a parents likes it or not. Sometimes I think this town is in denial about what their teenagers really do. It's sad that something like this had to happen but it will continue to happen if no one speaks up. As far as I know there are very little programs for teenagers when it comes to the weekend. Other than the school dances or sports games, what else is there? And sorry to say this, but kids go drunk to the dances- even with the "threat" of possible breath tests. The had those avaiable at the senior prom for 2000, but I remember seeing many students down alcohol in the parking lot.
I feel sorry for the girl that was arrested, but at the same time she is 19- she is old enough to know that she can't drink legally yet and if since she did drink, she should have called someone.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 6:51 pm
I follow the following quote from the atricle interesting, and my comments below the quote:
"With a case such as this, police struggle to find ways to spread the message to the community that underage drinking can have devastating consequences. As obvious as it sounds, Fenner said more people need to take the issue seriously and realize it could happen to them personally or for parents, to their children.
Other than the "Pleasanton Weekly", there has been VERY little coverage in the two "major" newspapers, now under the same ownership, of this accident. Other media has been almost nothing. If the authorities truly want to "spread the message" on this problem, the news coverage must be better and the facts more forthcoming from the authorities, which would stop some unfounded "facts" from being spread.
Of course, some things can't be made public until the proper time. But, release information and report it! That's how the message will be spread!
Posted by Lisa Ann, a resident of the Stoneridge Orchards neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 7:16 pm
I think everyone should open there eyes to this painful tragedy! I know everyone knows someone if not themselves that has taken a chance and gotten behind the wheel and drove intoxicated! They thank there lucky stars that nothing happened! This has effected many of lives! You don't have to know them to feel the pain! Two beautiful girls have lost there lives! Katie has lost her best friend! I'm sure right now Katie needs her best friend to talk to!She also has to live the rest of her life knowing what she did. Katie is a very kind,sweet person and we must not forget this! I don't believe in my hearts of heart that Laural would want you hate her best friend! They were best friends for a reason! Best friends are soul mates!
Posted by unknown, a resident of San Ramon, on Nov 8, 2007 at 7:41 pm
To Lisa Ann, First use spell check, it might get your message across better. Second,I am a close personal friend of Laurel's dad and the family.
Guess what?,two lives were not lost just one. Yeah, maybe Katie has lost alot of freedom by being in jail but family and friends can visit her "alive" body. Laurel's dad and family will never get to touch her, kiss her, watch her graduate from college, see her get married and have children. Just a thought. What do you think?
Posted by "just wondering", a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 7:49 pm
I agree with "unknown". Katie still has her life, it may not be the life she had wanted, but she is still here. She will still be able to graduate from college at some point in her life, maybe get married and have children. Her mother will still be able to talk to her and to hug her. Laurel's family will never have those things and to say that two lives were lost is ridiculous. ONE life was lost, Laurel's and we all need to remember that.
Yes, it is a tragedy for Katie as well, she lost a friend, but she is still alive.
Posted by just wondering, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 8:11 pm
No one ever said this was a "hate Katie rally", and I certainly didn't intend my comments to come off as such, but she did something terribly wrong. Yes, I do feel sorry for her family, but not as sorry as I feel for Laurel's family. Katie will have the rest of her life, Laurel does not, but by saying that doesn't mean I "hate" Katie. I think she mad a very stupid decision and one which she has to live with the rest of her life.
Posted by Kathy, a resident of the Golden Eagle neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 8:36 pm
I have briefly spoken to Katie a few times. She seemed like such a polite and kind person. I wonder if Laurel's blood alcohol level comes in above the limit, would her parents still blame Katie for her death? If she was mature and responsible enough she would have not gotten in the car with a drunk person.
As I said, I don't know Katie well. But, honestly she did not seem like the person who could just go one with her life and forget about what happened. What would make you people feel better? (portion of comment removed by Pleasanton Weekly staff)
I realize that she will have to pay for her mistake. But, don't you think just looking in the mirror every day would do that for her?
So, lets pray for both families. I pray that Laurel's parents get the strength to save another life and forgive.
I also pray that Katie will be released soon, and make her life committed to teaching other teenagers a personal lesson not the make her mistake.
Posted by friends of both, a resident of the Avila neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 8:36 pm
They are both friends of a lot of people! Please don't hate either one of them! They are both wrong for drinking!!!!!!!!!!! Katies is wrong for drinking and driving and Laurel is wrong for getting in the car! We love them both! May we always remember Laurel! She will never be forgotten! Our hearts go out to Laurel's parents!
Posted by relative, a resident of another community, on Nov 8, 2007 at 8:41 pm
Katies picture - already making her out to be a criminal. Her High School picture as Laurels is beautiful, how dare they.
Our family is devasted by this tragedy as Laurel was part of our family, many many great memories with Laurel and Katie growing up. These 2 girls where joined at the hip and for many many years have been the best of friends and without this horrible tragedy would have remained the closest of friends for years to come.
The grief we are experiencing for Laurel is far more than any of you know. Then we face what is ahead of us for Katie. Yes as "unkown" has said we do have Katie alive and we are most grateful for that.
We are proud of Katie and her accomplishments in life and we look too look forward to college grad. marriage and children, what's ahead? Not our dreams for her.
If we could go back to that morning, why didn't Laurel say "Katie do not start this car, neither one of us is any condiiton to drive". A 23 year old actually felt OK to drop them off at Katies car? Why not take them home? What happened happened and we are shocked as a family, as you would be with one of your own.
Please have sympathy for what Katie is going through.
Katie, a precious member of our family that we looked forward to watching her adult years they've been halted, this is the absolute worst most horrible tragedy that we have faced, I hope none of you ever experience this situation with your children, grandchild, niece, cousin etc.... feel our heartache, pain and years ahead of suffering for one moment of bad judgement.
You have no idea what we are going through and contine to be so hatefull. Prayers are needed right now. Our fatality in life with Katie is just beginning.
Posted by unknown, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 8:41 pm
I also pray that Katie will be released soon, and make her life committed to teaching other teenagers a personal lesson not the make her mistake.
Kathy! ARE YOU SERIOUS? Come on, now. If you were laurel's parents would you still be saying you want Katie to be released soon? Get real. Katie deserves to be behind bars, if she isn't she will hurt someone else, possible your kid? Think about it.. the lady in the other car could have been you or someone close to you. How about you think about it then?
Posted by Paul, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 8:50 pm
In the updated article that came out today, November 8th, it stated that Katie was previously arrested as recently as June for an alcohol-related (incident). I don't believe this person will ever get it, like most drunk drivers. Society must be protected from such repeat offenders. The maximum penalty is not good enough.
Posted by friends, a resident of the California Reflections neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 8:51 pm
(portion of comment removed by Pleasanton Weekly staff) Laurel was her best friend and was by her side drinking right along with her! They both made a deadly choice. I wonder how many other people left that same party and were drunk driving? Laurel wouldn't want you to hate Katie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by friend, a resident of the Apperson Ridge neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 9:00 pm
Paul and unknown,
Was Laurel arrested too for the prior? They were always together? Did either one of you drink before you were 21???????????????????? Tell the truth? Did you just not get caught????????????????It could of been your own kids at that age! Why isn't it posted if Laurel had alcohol or a prior? get off your high horse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by family friend, a resident of San Ramon, on Nov 8, 2007 at 9:12 pm
Get off your high horse. We all drank as teenagers and yes it could have been us, but for the poor innocent lady that Katie hit she was just out driving to the store, running errands, etc. Just think she could have hit one of the members of your family. How would you feel about her now? When is it time for us to say please get help and take resposibility for your actions? I say now is a great time to do that.
Posted by friend, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 9:16 pm
Are you Serious!!!!!!!! You wish nothing good for Katie! Remember, they were both drinking! I don't hear you saying anything about Laurel being wrong! If your going to judge then be fair! Laurel was drinking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by unknown, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 9:19 pm
I will never wish anything good for Katie. She doesn't deserve it. Sorry, I don't feel bad for people like that. She should have learned the first time she got in trouble with the cops regarding drinking. That didn't stop her before, what makes you think she will learn from this???
Posted by Shelley, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 9:29 pm
From the article: "We did (a town hall meeting) last spring for parents and there was very low turnout. We're very frustrated. We advertised them and we're presenting this information so parents can learn about what their kids are involved in and we're not seeing the interest. It's hard to help people who don't want to attend the meetings or spend the time."
Preaching complete abstinence never works with teenagers for they will do the exact opposite, yet it seems to be the easy way out for most parents. Simply saying "Don't do it! Don't drink!" is not enough. The Police Department realizes this, set up a meeting to get parents involved, yet hardly any parents attend! How disappointing of our "Community of Character!" What character is it, one might ask? I'd answer, a character of apathy and self-indulgence. Go ahead, call each other names, say you're right, the other's are heartless, etc. It doesn't change the fact that most parents in this town live in denial about all the meth, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, aderol, oxycontin, you-name-it-they'll-find-it available to high schoolers and middle schoolers. Watch where those weekly allowances go, or the pay from the after-school jobs! Any shipments in the mail from the internet? You can buy prescription drugs there too! Maybe these children get involved in wasting their lives in order to blemish their otherwise seemingly perfect lives? So they can feel ghetto and get all hyphy because that's what the cool kids in Oakland do. Parents: stop hiding your face in the sand and talk to other parents about what your teenagers are up to Friday and Saturday night!
Posted by AD, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Nov 8, 2007 at 10:27 pm
I don't want to sound like I don't feel incredible sadness for Laurel's family, I just want to remind everyone that ALL these girls have partied like this unfortunate evening. Everyone is good because they have never been caught.
Yes Katie has a prior alcohol incident,not driving, that yes Laurel was present, not detained, but Katie has had some bad luck with experimenting and getting caught.
This particular tragedy just had to be Katie's car. Again, I am not condonning Katie's action, just remember if it was Laurel's car it would be the opposite outcome. After the prior incident Katie was alcohol free, with the exception of this one night.
Horrible decision making by both and especially the man who drove them to her car.
Posted by unknown, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 10:34 pm
I do feel bad for the lady, Laurel, Katie, and all their families.
So, let stop huffing and puffing at one another.
people go back and read the all the comments, specially the one you wrote yourself. How would you feel if all this was written about you, your daughter,or your sister? We all could have a different view on the same exact subject, depending of which side of the case we are standing on. We are all human. We all make mistakes. But, this was not a premeditated situation. It was a wrong decision making in a situation which either one of those girls where not capable of properly make the right decision.
If Laurel was my daughter, of course I Would have felt angry. Specially, if she was continuously influenced by Katie. But, as a parent I should also blame myself for not bringing up my child to have enough confidence to stand up for her own belief. But, if again, if she was Katie's friend on her own will and the parents consent (seems long they had been long long time friends), then no one to blame but her own wrong judgment.
In the other hand if Katie was my daughter I would have also felt terrible for having my child in such a situation, and of course again blaming myself for not teaching her to be more responsible.
I will not judge Katie till I know exactly what her June arrest was for! The police said " "She has been arrested for an alcohol-related (incident) in June,". Alcohol related. Which could also be that they found an open bottle in her car, but she had not drank.
Who knows, we will just have to wait.
It is unfortunate, that parents are so afraid of restricting their children. They are afraid of their children accusing them of abuse, so the kids become the controlers and the abusers and do what ever they choose to do.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 10:52 pm
unknown of castlewood wrote: "It is unfortunate, that parents are so afraid of restricting their children."
Hear, hear! Parents need to think about ceasing this "be a friend" parenting-style that has become so popular and start acting like parents. Parents have a responsibility to teach their kids, not sit back and enjoy the show!
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 10:55 pm mac is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Was Laurel drinking too? How about the driver dropping them off? Let's assume they were all drinking and intoxicated. It means nothing accept to say that we parents must act now! Where are your guts to be parents rather than cheerleaders of our kids...rather than their friends. They are all known drinkers and we parents just smile on and pat ourselves on the back with admiration. It makes me SICK!
And what if she was not drinking? How amazingly stupid is for a 19 year old to get into a car with a drunk friend. At 3 times the legal limit you can't tell me she couldn't judge her friend to have been drinking.
Lose one teenager every year in the valley? At least!!! Yes, we lost very dear Joel last year on Foothill road. Whether alcohol was involved is questionable...but speed was not. 70 mph! Manslaughter? Nope. Reckless driving? Nada. Simple speeding ticket? no no no.
Years earlier we lost another boy to Foothill road who left a party drunk out of his mind. Friends told me they tried to stop him but that he was insistent. No one had the guts to take the keys out of his hand and drive him home themselves. I was all over my kids for that, but alas they were not at the same party. We need to be all over our kids. We must act...and we must teach our kids to act.
This isn't about hating. It's about stopping the insanity. Taking action is the only way to learn to become responsible.
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 11:03 pm mac is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
ahh, stacey, you and I agree. Time to go back to a firmer definition of parenthood.
To the castlewood poster...not a premeditated situation? I strongly disagree. These kids are absolutely thinking ahead about where the party is and who's going to bring alcohol and how blasted are they going to get. Very premeditated. They also know they are opening the car door, putting the key in the ignition and ...putting the world at risk. I hardly think they are so very ignorant that they don't realize they taking a risk. They do know the chances and they still make the decisions. It is premeditated in my mind.
Posted by Kerry, a resident of Livermore, on Nov 9, 2007 at 7:33 am
I've kept up on this story since it was first posted a couple of weeks ago. I held out hope that Katie's blood alcohol level was not really that high. That they had tried to sleep it off the night before and woke up the next morning thinking they could drive, albeit still a bit wobbly. It has made me so sad and upset and angry to read that the Katie was three times over the legal limit. :(
However, what this does tell me is multiple people played a part in what happened that morning. The person that dropped them off at their car, Katie for getting behind the driver's wheel, and Laurel for getting in the passenger seat. No one meant for any of this to happen, but from what I have read, at least three people could have stopped this.
My heart goes out to all those involved and I truly hope that a lesson has been learned for all of those that have been affected by this. Pleassanton has lost another beautiful young person who was just embarking on her life and another whose life has taken a drastic and unexpected turn.
Now, the community needs to figure out what to do to educate others so this doesn't happen again. I imagine juniors and seniors will remember this incident the next time they think about getting in a car after drinking, but what about the sophomores and freshman? Time will go on, people will forget, and we're doomed to see this happen again - same situation, just different faces.
I was in the Pleasanton high school community no more than 5 years ago. From what I can remember, with the exception of "Every 15 minutes", which is only done every 2 years, there is not enough education on the negative effects of drinking and driving. I understand that putting on an event like "Every 15 minutes" is expensive to do every year, but it should be done. People move on and people forget - information like this should be kept fresh in their minds.
Step up to the plate Pleasanton. It your job to teach and educate your children on what's right and wrong. You're an everday example to them of how to act and who to be. Now's the time to make a difference in the future of the youth of this town.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 7:54 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
"All this has happened before and will happen again."
I'm going to be general here and it shouldn't be taken as an implication or judgment of the families of the people involved in this story. It is just a general comment on the theme quoted above.
We teach our kids to talk, tie their shoes, brush their teeth, dress themselves, use the potty, how to share their toys, etc. But it seems like once they reach a certain age we don't know how to teach them anymore about life. Things like how to be courteous to others, how to manage finances, how to live in moderation, how to be a respectable man or woman, or how to make the right choices.
It seems like we increasingly expect society and government to teach these things to our kids through programs we don't take a part in, like DARE. Do we just not know how? How can we expect these tragedies to not happen when we stop taking an active role? If we're always planning their lives and making choices for them, how can we expect they will learn to make the right choices in bad situations?
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Time to stop catching all the fish.
Posted by kristin, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 8:52 am kristin is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Most likely that morning, the two girls thought they were heading home to sleep it off, probably laughing and joking and just being girls...they loved each other and it is human nature for us to want to "hang" someone, but I know this. There is this little known condition called Alchoholism. And went king alchohol is put into the body in great amounts it takes over...These girls had no control, it could have been Laurel driving and the situation and loss of a sweet girl reversed. We can blame Katie, but she loved Laurel and this was not intentional. Unfortuantely we are judged by our ACTIONS and not our good intentions...Laurel lost her life, but Katie will also pay the price...forever. we should all stop trying to "hang someone" it has already happened...
Posted by unknown, a resident of another community, on Nov 9, 2007 at 9:26 am
I agree with kristin. I hope Katie's so-called friends are reading this blog. (portion of comment removed by Pleasanton Weekly staff) I understand the loss and anger but Katie needs your support too. Put yourself in that position. I cannot believe you are all blaming only Katie for this. There are at least 4 people, and you all know who you are, that could have stopped this accident and all of them failed to do so, not just Katie. Maybe that is why you are judging so harshly.
Posted by WHATEVER, a resident of another community, on Nov 9, 2007 at 10:17 am
(portion of comment removed by Pleasanton Weekly staff) The blame is being put on her so much because of her actions in the past. Yes this will forever damage her, she will miss her friend forever, but, she has the opportunity to change things in her life, just as she has had the chance before, BUT WILL SHE!?!? Is the question....
Posted by Pleasanton teen, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 11:06 am
Laurel did decide to get in the car with a drunk driver.. she made a conscious decision. My heart goes out to both of their families, Katie is probably going through so much right now and she needs support as well I'm sure. My best friend & I have been life long friends, and if anything were ever to happen to me I would never want her to be held responsible, let alone be sent to prison for 10 years for it. Knowing you lost your best friend is punishment enough.
Posted by unknown, a resident of another community, on Nov 9, 2007 at 11:13 am
If the accident happened in the same way but both girls lived, both girls died or Katie died and Laurel lived would people be blaming Katie as much or as harshly as they are now. I don't think so, it would have been a horrible accident and left at that. Katie is to blame for her actions but so is Laurel and everyone else that didn't stop this from happening. You talk about her past like you know what it is and just because there was a prior incident (which was not drinking and driving) on record, people are saying that she didn't learn her lesson. How many people including all the kids at this party have drove after drinking and just have not been caught so there is no record of it, but have any of them learned their lesson. There have been accident after accident with young kids in this same situation and you would think that these kids would have learned the lesson to stop drinking period (portion of comment removed by Pleasanton Weekly staff)
Posted by unknown, a resident of another community, on Nov 9, 2007 at 11:16 am
Plesanton teen, you are so right. I am sure that Laurel would not want all these negative things said about Katie, it is not going to change the outcome. If she could be heard right now I am sure that she would be defending Katie against all this harshness. I wish that these "friends" of both girls would think about how Laurel would react to them turning their backs on Katie.
Posted by Confused, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Nov 9, 2007 at 11:31 am
While I feel terrible for all of the families affected I can't understand how anyone can defend someone driving any kind of vehicle with a .24 blood alcohol level? I'm not an expert but have listed to radio shows during the holiday "driving" season that have thier hosts intentionally drink and blow a breathalizer to educate people on how many drinks it takes to get to a certain blood alcohol level.
This situation is very sad, but it takes a serious amount of alcohol in a very short timespan to get to .24?
It is incredidbly difficult to teach kids about the effects of alcohol before the age of 21 since it is illegal? Any parent who attempts to give thier kids some "perspective" by teaching "moderate" drinking would be vilified. Yet when a situation such as this occurs everyone preaches teaching kids limits and implies that the parents of those kids involved must be unwilling or irresponsible.
Maybe the drinking age should be 16, but you should have to be 21 in order to get a license? At least then we'd only have a bunch of drunks walking around and not driving........
Posted by Mother of teens, a resident of another community, on Nov 9, 2007 at 11:50 am
Great point Confused.
Our country is one of 4 in the world that expects. magically, at the age of 21, humans will be capable of sound judgement when using alcohol. It makes much more sense in the European cultures where moderation is modeled through "baby steps". First with sips, then with watered spirits and then with full inclusion, with caring experienced adults there to guide the youths on limits. Not in a place with no adults, under the veil of secrecy with other kids egging them on.
This is not Katie's failure alone. We as adults have failed her and her contemporaries.
Posted by From Someone Across the Bay, a resident of another community, on Nov 9, 2007 at 11:52 am
I cannot understand the amount of anger and judgment going on from so many. Why can't everyone take this tragedy and take away from it things that you can do to make a difference, whether it is with your kids & family, others kids or your community.
Instead of being angry, you need to work towards understanding and forgiveness. I'm not sure what you think will be gained by being angry, let alone staying angry. No one can being the healing process with this type of anger.
I can tell you from first hand experience if those of you venting your anger & comments has never had to endure this kind of tragedy in your life, then PLEASE DO NOT continue to do this to any of the people involved. Unfortunately I have lived this nightmare going on 2yrs now and I can tell you, all the hateful, naieve, judgemental & possible rumors you are throwing out there may make you feel better, but how dare you continue to add to these families tragedy and stress.
If this community is truly a "community" then nows the time to step up, show it, forgive and start the healing process. Many lives have been changed because of this. If you truly care about those in your community then start today;focus your energies and pull together as true "communities" do to help make a difference.
The healing process is so critical, I truly hope you realize this and don't waste any more time focusing on the negative-go out and make a difference today
Posted by self control, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 12:07 pm
My heart goes out to the families of Laurael and Katie.
When tragedy such as this hits our local community it really puts things in perspective. To all you young people out there...think before you drink and drive. It only takes a split second and your life is drastically changed forever.
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 12:10 pm
Pleasanton teen wrote ..."and if anything were ever to happen to me I would never want her to be held responsible, let alone be sent to prison for 10 years for it. Knowing you lost your best friend is punishment enough."
How WRONG are you to determine what punishment is enough. The law is the law and it isn't so much about Laurel being dead but the fact that it could have been 'anyone' dead including the lovely lady who was hit head on in this accident. That person could have been you or me or anyone else. It isn't the issue of a friend being killed...but of a person being killed.
How pathetic that you think losing her best friend is punishment enough. This shows the teenage mentality as quite unsophisticated and immature.
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 12:16 pm
It is important to not that this anger and frustration that is coming out is a much needed form of venting. Only with emotions and passion might some impact be made on both teens and parents within a community. Sorry to disagree with Someone Across The Bay. Although we should not designate 'hatred' towards these girls, we should boldly discuss and debate such topics in order to keep them alive and hopefully work at solutions. We've lost too many ppl in our nation to this problem and need to keep it in our priorities.
Let's stop bashing individuals and start becoming empassioned about making change. These discussions may help that. Joining Madd will, as well.
Posted by unknown, a resident of Livermore, on Nov 9, 2007 at 12:41 pm
I lost my son of 19 years in a car accident; alcohol was NOT involved. Laurel's family will suffer the rest of their lives. There is no comparison to losing a life and having one pay consequences to the damages they are responsible for. Katie deserves punishment and the person that dropped the girls' off at the car that morning also deserves to be punished. An alcohol level of that magnitude cannot go un-noticed. My heart goes out to Laurel's family.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 1:07 pm
I think you should follow your own advice, I have seen your blogs and you are as hateful as any of them. You of all touting compassion has not shown any, you think that you are justified in your anger. Everyone is angry, everyone is saddened and everyone should feel compassion and empathy for all the families involved. It is a sad sad situation and probably one of the worst in the last few years. Try following your own advice.
Posted by A, a resident of another community, on Nov 9, 2007 at 2:30 pm
There is something in life called Natural consequences, when someone makes any kind of choice a natural consequence follows. In our society we have laws that apply to everyone (ideally), they are somewhat concrete and one cannot decide that the event in question has caused enough pain thus equaling enough punishment. Unfortuantly the natural consequences of this act was the death of a Best friend someone Katie had grown up with and surely loved, the injury of an innocent unrelated driver, loss of friends, etc. It also includes being arrested, going through a trial and probable jail time. I believe the families involved all have a right to be angry, you can say that Laurel would have made the same choice and driven and the situation would be reversed however nonone can know that for sure or know what Laurel what thinking that day. Her family will never hear her voice again. Katie will surely struggle with this for the rest of her life.
All parties involved are surely playing the what ifs over and over again in their heads.
In response to the argument that Laurel would not want her friend to suffer any more punishment I would point out that it would not be Laurels choice to make, we have Laws when you break them and are caught, there is a process. Even when a tragedy occurs.
It takes a village to raise our children!!! Parents need help and support from eachother and others in the community. The village is failing it children horribly and we as a nation need to come together and fight for the lives of our Youth.
Posted by So Sad, a resident of the Foothill Knolls neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 2:53 pm
This situation is all bad. The facts outweigh all of the emotional responses to it. For those of us who knew both Laurel and Katie, it is an immeasurable tragedy, but one that happened and needs to be addressed for what it is. A criminal act of willful disregard for human life. A drunk driving, a lovely young life wasted.
Katie is a nineteen year old adult who made choices that she will suffer the consequences for. Other people in this situation did as well, and they will suffer their consequences. The party is over, Pleasanton. Wake up, everyone! Adults, parents, teens and adult-children - it is criminal to disregard this behavior as "normal", or "ok" because everyone does it. The consequences are death and jail time. I am so sorry that both of these girls, and those around them, had to learn the hard way.
Maybe this tragic situation will make a difference for a few - make them call home and get the safe ride home, make our children think twice before trusting their friends to drive them home. The party is over, Pleasanton. Nothing more to party about.
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 3:22 pm
"Everyone is angry, everyone is saddened and everyone should feel compassion and empathy for all the families involved."
Right on. I am all of these and more. Sad, angry, frustrated, disheartened as well as feeling deep sadness and compassion for the strife upon these families. And fear. Fear that it will be an innocent person who dies next time. The lady in the other car. Someone's child who was off to piano practice. They are no different than you or me. We are all in this. It could happen to anyone. And that still makes me angry...and sad.
Great last posts. Facts to deal with. Laws to protect us. Need for discussions - whether heated or compassioned - to take place.
I am still mourning the loss of two high school boys from 2006 and earlier from 2002. Can't seem to get over them.
Posted by Pleasanton teen, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 3:29 pm
As a teen in Pleasanton I don't think people have any idea of how common this situation is- it's just that not every time someone dies. This happens every single weekend in Pleasanton, kids drive drunk after parties and their friends get in the car with them. Stop being blind. This has happened before, people have died, people mourn and then they move on. There is nothing anyone can do about it.. this will keep going. All you can do as parents is talk to your own children and tell them they are not invincible, and that this is proof of that. Tell them to make the smartest decision and not drive drunk or get in the car with a drunk driver. The decision, ultimately, is theirs.
Mac, thank you for calling me pathetic. You seem to have no empathy or sympathy to the guilt that the driver must feel. All I was saying is Laurel got in the car with her and obviously made that choice on her own. Katie didn't mean for this to happen and I'm sure what she is going through is an unmeasurable amount of pain and grief and you should all be respectful of this, not lash out or bash her.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 3:34 pm
I knew the boys from 2007 , 2006 and I knew the boy from 2002. We never get over it, we just keep teaching our kids. The problem is, that these are kids. They see, they grieve. they talk about it and then they forget because they are teenagers and teenagers think that they are immune. We raise them and send them out the door and hope that the choices they make are consistent with what they have been taught. This is not always what happens. They are teenagers. It is unfortunate, so we kiss our kids and love them and we cringe as they walk out the door and get into their cars, we don't rest till we hear them open the doors at night.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 3:46 pm
New flash...Katie IS a criminal. And as one poster pointed out, she has been arrested before. I for one am glabd she is off the road, perhaps a few years in prison will actually help her reflect on killing her friend. Sugar coat is all you want, but my family frequently drives down Foothill on Saturday morning and I thank God, they were not the ones she plowed into after being 3 times the legal limit. What if it would have been a family car full of kids heading to a basketball game? Would it have been worse? Young 19 year old Katie is not the victim here, her friend and the older lady she hit were. We are safer where she now is, keep her there.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 4:10 pm
Pleasanton teen wrote:
"As a teen in Pleasanton I don't think people have any idea of how common this situation is- it's just that not every time someone dies. This happens every single weekend in Pleasanton, kids drive drunk after parties and their friends get in the car with them. Stop being blind. "
I'm a former teen in Pleasanton. I actually have a hard time understanding this because I never went to such parties even though I knew others did. I guess I wasn't cool enough or maybe I was busy doing things other than going to parties. Hrm...
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 4:11 pm
Pleasanton Teen, You completely missed why I called you pathetic. I called you pathetic for saying that the drunk driver (Katie) shouldn't have to go to jail because she was already being punished enough by losing her best friend. That IS pathetic. Nuff said.
Consider her feelings? Nope. I'll leave that to you and those who know her. I am still angry for the unnecessary loss of life.
My anger is towards a drunk driver. You can call her Katie. I'll just call her the drunk driver. I don't need to personalize this. It's not about me. It's about a drunk driver.
Posted by family friend, a resident of San Ramon, on Nov 9, 2007 at 4:15 pm
regarding the comment by LOVE. Would you be saying the same thing if Laurel was your daughter and she didn't stop the situation? Remember she is the one in the ground, Katie is not. Laurel paid the ultimate price and the judge will decide what will happen to Katie. She did something illegal and will pay for it besides having to live with it everyday. Does it make you feel better blaming Laurel too? Maybe you can explain to her 8 year sister why she isn't coming back.
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 4:19 pm
Parent from Country Fair,
Thanks so much for mentioning that you knew the other boys. Such a loss. I fear there are few who'd even remember and I've made it a point to not allow that to happen. I discuss them with my kids all the time. Keep them alive through discussion. Try to never forget those that are lost prematurely.
...and yes, I do pray for all involved. It's the least we can do. Pray for healing and hope.
Posted by Stop and think, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 4:35 pm
Itís interesting how people feel about a tragic mistake when it is someone they love but when tragedy strikes someone else they are judgmental, cold, condescending, make nasty comments and feel that ďtheir familyĒ could never do anything wrong, make a bad decision, or be responsible for such a horrible situation. I think they should all stop and think about their families past and maybe they will not be so quick to judge anyone. There are few people out there that if they were honest with themselves wouldnít realize that a one time or another this could have been them or a member of their family. It is very upsetting that when it happens to someone it their family itís a different story all together. Obviously Katie has had some issues considering she was arrested in June. How serious is her drinking problem? Is it just the type of drinking that most teenagers do at that age or does she have a real problem?
Posted by unknown, a resident of another community, on Nov 9, 2007 at 4:48 pm
With absolutely no disrespect to anyone, but just because Laurel is dead does not make her innocent in this situation. Like everyone is saying about Katie, she was a 19 year old adult who made the decision to get into the car with Katie knowing that she was drunk. Because you pay with your life doesn't automatically take the blame away. Katie was wrong and she will pay for what she did, I don't think anybody is trying to place all the blame on Laurel but she does deserve some of the blame.
How would you people be reacting and how would you want people to react if this was your daughter who had this horrible accident.
How would you be reacting if Katie had died, would she still be a criminal and a horrible person and somebody you wish nothing good for?
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 4:52 pm
"I feel that it's not our place to judge these young girls and their actions. It's a horrible tragedy. What both families need now is all of us to come together as a community and prayer for them."
Kim, it actually is now our place to judge Katie. She will now be tried in the community she committed the CRIME and yes, that is exactly what killing some one with a care while drunk is, and she be judged by those that live in the "community". Prayers won't bring back Katie, or help the lady she hit. My prayers are for thanks, that she didn't hit my wife and kids that Saturday morning on Foothill, God knows we drive it enough. Do you know how drunk you have to be to be three times the legal limit? How stupid is that?...I hope the community comes together too. To punish everyone else involved in this mindless tragedy. It's pathetic and the people who would excuse the crime and make excuses for Katie make me sick.
Posted by Pleasanton, a resident of another community, on Nov 9, 2007 at 5:22 pm
We keep hearing that Katie has a drinking problem but Laurel was drinking beside her and I don't hear any of Laurel's loved ones admitting she had a problem. You can't blame others for why you drink! Even in AA they tell you the first step is to take accountability for your own actions. Getting in the car with someone that you know first hand shouldn't be driving is a sign that you might have a problem too! I don't believe if Laurel was sober she would of got in the car. In fact, sober, she would of drove!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by Pleasanton, a resident of another community, on Nov 9, 2007 at 5:27 pm
To the person who wrote to Kim! No, you do not have the right to judge anyone! Get to Church! If it was your kid would you stop loving them? We are not going to stop loving Katie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Do you know the 10 commandments? Look it up!
Posted by Kim, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 5:35 pm
Resident, what Katie does was a crime, and hopefully if our court system works the way it should, she will be punished for her crime.What I meant was that it's not our place to judge, it's up to the big guy upstairs.
Posted by to Mrs. San Ramon, a resident of the Foothill Place neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 5:36 pm
You are so full of hate! You should really think about talking to a priest. I hope your kids never make bad choices that have an outcome like this! I mean never drinking before they are 21, and also never drinking and driving that takes there best friends life! Will you stop loving them and hate them like you want the world to hate Katie?
Posted by Relative, a resident of another community, on Nov 9, 2007 at 6:12 pm
Katie is my cousin and I love her. Our whole family is grieving for Laurel! Those who knew her and those that knew of her thru Katie! We wish so bad that this did't have to happen. We want Laurel's family to know how sorry we are! Our hearts and prayers are with them! Please Know this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by kathy, a resident of the Golden Eagle neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 6:31 pm
Confused, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, 6 hours ago wrote;
Maybe the drinking age should be 16, but you should have to be 21 in order to get a license? At least then we'd only have a bunch of drunks walking around and not driving.
Love the Idea. I am parent and was a teenage at some point. I noticed all the kids that were limited too much, also the ones who were let go to much were making many wrong decisions. The y were always affraid of missing out on things. So, the experimented to the max. Sure, why not let your 16year old sip a glass of wine with you present. This way, they won't go wild wondering what drinking is all about. It is great to have children drive at 21. At 16, they want to show off. They want to show frineds that they are somebody. And, think being daring the way to do it.
Dear pleasanton parents, please...... we know you have plenty of money to get your children cool cars. But, why? The cooler the car, the more they want to show it off. Let your children know the value of money. What if you won't be there when they get older? Do you think thye can do it on their own, when you buy every thing for them????
Posted by Question, a resident of San Ramon, on Nov 9, 2007 at 6:41 pm
To answer, don't tell me what that "relative" meant. You don't even know what I meant. Not one person on here should be telling anyone what to think or feel and no one knows what someone else is thinking or feeling. You can state what you feel and think but you canít speak for anyone else. This is a huge tragedy and everyone involved is forever changed.
Posted by Kelsey, a resident of Dublin, on Nov 9, 2007 at 6:43 pm
First off, I was best friends with both laurel AND katie. All of us, but like all of you have made mistakes in your life. Just because Katie is alive doesnt mean I didn't lose her either. I have seen just in the past year more people driving drunk then sober when leaving parties. Katie made a mistake, and yes she is going to pay for it, but instead of sitting her blaming her calling her names, why don't you start educating your kids so this doesn't happen to them. I know for a fact Katie feels about 100% more pain and guilt then most people on here, esp. for those who had no personal connection or idea who she was. Laurel is in a better place now, and she is watching over us every second of the day. Do you think she would want to see the community fight and argue over this? Or come together as a community to stop this from reoccuring. Everyone is at fault for that morning, but sitting here and blaming people is not going to do anything. How about you parents start explaining to your friends and finding aways to prevent this from happening? If it is today's YOUTH that is in trouble.. your kids are next in line, so save them while you can. There is not a minute that goes by that I don't think about Laurel, but there also isn't a minute that goes by that I don't feel for Katie and the pain she must be going through. Laurel was her best friend too.
Posted by Deb, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 6:54 pm
Those asking what about Laurel's family commenting on whether Laurel had a drinking problem or not, well, they are grieving at this time. For how long? No one knows. Her mom is barely living day by day with grief, crying for her baby, longing to hold Laurel one more time, waiting to see her come through the front door at home after a day at college or get a call from her that she's ok.
She is unable to deal with the newspapers, the TV news, with people dropping by or with the phone ringing in her home. She is taking little steps to get out occassionally to do things that have to be done like attending the court hearing today for Katie's arraignment.
She has a lot of support from Laurel and Katie's friends, people in our community and from her office. Yet she is so alone. I work with Laurel's mom and I miss her at work. She used to laugh and tell silly jokes and always cared about others. She can't do that right now because she is grieving.
All that is being said about Laurel and her alchol level it will eventually be reported as the article said, so be patient you will get your answer soon.
For now, all this that is going back and forth in this communication is only upsetting to the family and to Laurel's memory and Katie's family. So come up with ideas on how to make our community a better place or our kids instead of hating or speculating or assuming. We owe it to our community to be safe. We are responsible as well for what goes on in our own community. Please take ownership now before it happens again.
Laure's mom is not a hating person. She wants Katie to get help and never hurt another "living thing" again. What the courts do is what the laws are set before us for the "consequences of her actions". So please, pray for both families. Katie and her family is in a place in their lives that they never expected to be and there is no rule book for it. They have to take it one step at a time too. Laure's family and friends are doing the same.
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 7:29 pm
Kathy of Golden Eagle, Cold and cruel? I obviously am not accurately expressing myself. I am sickened by the whole thing but not at the particular individuals. I've tried to say this. I've spent years parenting teens. I've had their friends show up at my house drunk and I've taken keys away and made them stay the night. I've called parents who have not bothered to return the call. I've taken kids for counseling. Do something positive? Done that. Many kids have called or come by my house to confide in me or ask for help because they knew I was available and non-judgemental. I hold that relationship with these teens with great regard and confidentiality. I'm honored they'd come to me and I am respectful that they seek advice or help.
Your kids will soon be facing the same things and I only hope you can say you've done anything for your own or others that is as positive.
Forgiveness? It is not my job to forgive. There are the others involved and God himself who must find forgiveness...not me.
Talk about cold! Sounds like you are a bit judgemental, yourself, or I have difficulty expressing myself.
p.s. let us know how forgiving you become part of this unique community.
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 7:34 pm
Kathy, Funny I'd heard the exact opposite as you. I've heard repeated stories of 'this drunk driver" being involved in regualr drink fests and anticipations over upcoming parties where they could get blasted.
Being that we've both heard opposing opinions, it's clear that we don't know the real answers so maybe we should reserve these comments.
Posted by kathy, a resident of the Golden Eagle neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 8:06 pm
Obviously you are not showing your true self they way you express yourself in writing. From what you say, you are a caring man who have helped other kids. So, lets not make ourselves hate so much and try to help another child and save a life. If kids are comfortable to confide in you, please stay positive, the way you had been to help them.
Posted by mac, a resident of the Carriage Gardens neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 8:33 pm
Kathy and anyone else who I've offended with my terseness... I apologize. This forum is good for offering an outlet in discussion and debate. It is a necessary form of venting though it is apparent we need to re-read what we say and hope we are saying it clearly. I will work on that and thank you for your patience.
Posted by PToWN94566, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 8:50 pm PToWN94566 is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I think it's important that we all have some kind of sympathy for Katie in this event. We all know Laruel's parents or family/friends won't get to see her again and we all know that Katie has to live with this for the rest of her life.
With that said, I do believe though Katie is a criminal. The law does not recgonize age- she is over 18 and not 21. She was already arrested once. It's sad that she didn't get help sooner- even if she didn't go out for "X" amount of months, that doesn't mean she never would do it again- she did. I'm only 26 and I go through months where I don't drink then I have months where I do drink- and take a cab home. Teens will go through the same thing, as with any person of any age that has a taste for alcohol- and no not everybody. I also do believe that whoever supplied the alcohol are also criminals. Hopefully they will be caught.
Posted by a young man, a resident of Livermore, on Nov 9, 2007 at 10:49 pm
(portion removed by PW staff) the theme of this particular incident is that "it could happen to anyone". so this family has done nothing wrong. it happens, the society we live in forces a felling in youth today of invincibility; as much as we want to prevent this sort of thing, some lesson need to be learned trough drastic measures. and you could show this to many youth today and it would resinate for a few hours and the effect would bleed off. with the media we have today, youth has been exposed to much violence and tragedy. this story hit home for me. i dont have the answers; i can only say keep looking. this is a problem; the problem has to do with society. much to do with the cool-factor and arrogance, this problem stems from the greed in society today. which is related to the up bringing, but keep in mind "this could happen to anyone".
Posted by Shelley, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 11:03 pm
Parent of Amador Estates,
First off, this isn't a weBLOG, it's a forum. And if you are not going to comment on things pertinent to the discussion, then with all due respect, keep your comments to yourself. We are not here to post to this FORUM to insult other people and call them names, but to express our thoughts, feelings, arguments, etc regarding the initial topic.
That being said:
I don't want to sound like a broken record, but this discussion is not about criticizing the decisions Katie and Laurel made and the consequences of those decisions and the reactions of the community. It's about recognizing that the way we/parents do things now is not working and we need to change. Reevaluate how you interact with your teenager! The "sex talk" and "the drug/alcohol talk" needs to be repeated until it is beaten into their brains that YOU, PARENT, actually do care about it. I was soooo sick of my mom questioning whether I was still a virgin and that I was going to wait until I was at least 18. But looking back at it, I'm glad she did ask me, several, very uncomfortable, awkward times. But the point is, she showed me that she knew I was still testing her.
Posted by a young man, a resident of Livermore, on Nov 9, 2007 at 11:12 pm
i will assume you are a parent. i am not. i would like to know, if you do not mind, what one of these drug/alcohol conversation might consist of. i'm not sure how i will deal with this problem when i do choose to have children. staying on topic, i am no stranger to drugs or alcohol but managed to stay with the basics alcohol and marijuana. i would like to know why number one i can so easily dismiss the usage of these two types of drugs; and two is that a problem; or the problem.
Posted by unknown, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 11:48 pm
Portion of comment removed by Pleasanton Weekly staff) lets not judge unless we know facts people be real now.....my heart to katie laurel and the familys if my friend killed me i would never want them to be hated by anyone whatsoever
Posted by a young man, a resident of Livermore, on Nov 9, 2007 at 11:57 pm
i have made some mistakes and you might be right, ANONYMOUS. initially,i might not have want to even think about what had happened. but right now i guess we have a unique opportunity to reach a large sample of concerned individuals. so i do not see why addressing the makes as a whole, is such a crime. the only thing everyone here has in common is that they all wish this did not happen, yes some have unique ways of stabbing ppl that do not deserve it. my opinion is generalized conversation should be condoned. So preventative measure can be created through the collective mind present at this form/blog. i obviously do not agree with much that has been said here. but ppl in high places do read this.
Posted by a young man, a resident of Livermore, on Nov 10, 2007 at 1:29 am
Kids today need to trust that if they called at 1.00, 2.00, or even 10.00 in the morning from a taxi out front that you'll be there for them in your pjs, wallet in hand ready to pay for the taxi and walk them up to bed. they need to know you will not be upset, obviously concerned but not upset. you may need to tell your child that if they want to go get drunk and can not stay the night that the cost of taxi ride should be included in the cost of going out. obviously their are other concerns when a minor gets in a taxi intoxicated. so you may have to stretch your obligation further to picking up an intoxicated minor at location. some degree of trust needs to be established with your minor or young adult that they can trust in you to help before things get out of your control.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2007 at 8:11 am
young man wrote:
"right now i guess we have a unique opportunity to reach a large sample of concerned individuals. so i do not see why addressing the makes as a whole, is such a crime. the only thing everyone here has in common is that they all wish this did not happen, yes some have unique ways of stabbing ppl that do not deserve it. my opinion is generalized conversation should be condoned."
Here's an analogy. We had quite an earthquake recently on the Calaveras fault, which runs close to Pleasanton. It should have been a reminder to everyone to make sure to update/assemble an earthquake kit. I know a lot of you didn't even think about it or if you did you haven't done it yet and so probably never will. I know this because we thought about it too and still haven't gotten our kit together either. But I sure didn't see on this forum anyone telling anyone else how stupid they are for not putting their kits together or making comments like "You're sick! How would you feel if...". What is this? Hubris?
We as a community should be looking at this tragedy as an earthquake and use it as an opportunity to put together our survival kits.
young man also referenced a weblink regarding parents who give alcohol to minors. It is unfortunate that there are irresponsible parents out there who do this sort of thing. The responsible way would have been to notify the parents of all party attendees that there would be alcohol and to make arrangements for the safe return of the attendees or plans for spending the night. Parents would then have a choice of whether their teen could attend or not. European laws generally require adult (18) supervision when serving alcohol to a minor (16) while US law makes it totally illegal. It is sad that if you want to teach your child responsible drinking habits, it is illegal and must be done in secret.
Posted by a young man, a resident of Livermore, on Nov 10, 2007 at 9:07 am
Agreed Stacey and very good points. but your analogy is flawed earthquakes do not kill over 100 young adults each year in California.
"thats a reason i wouldnt call my parents fear of them being mad"
this is sad teens can not trust there parents. however, that being said i agreed with Stacey the body-style does not work either. The trust that is positive trust, is that you, the parent, will ALWAYS do the responsible thing. Never judge, knowing you have had your own struggles, the ones you have conquered the greatest will be the easiest to teach. After-all disappoint, is such a stronger feeling than anger. I'm this has been attempted; failure and success rest in the balance of projecting approval and disappointment. Too much disappoint will drive a wedge in the relationship, as well as too much approval. Projection of disappointment and approval are tricky; Because as parent we inevitably have a vision of the son or daughter we want. However, each person will become their own individual. As parents, we can offer our values, goal /ambitions, and favorable character attributes, but, in the end, its is the youth's decision to become the adult they want to be.
All that said. To the youth of today, know that your parents will always be there for you. And the responsibility is within your grasp. Consider the alternatives; Potential for jail time, versus chores around the house or the ever dreaded "Your grounded!".
Posted by Chris, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2007 at 10:51 am
I was on a myspace website yesterday called grimrealities....I urge teens and anyone teen or not that drinks and drive to dare take a look at this page and videos on it...It is almost hard to watch, but extremely sobering....and just may save another life...God bless Laurel and Katie both....prayer is what we all need...
Posted by paula, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2007 at 12:16 pm
Taking the time to read all the postings, I must say that the ignorance of understanding that having bored teens, and a community of teens drinking and driving is a theme on this thread. This behavior has gone for years and years with and without parents consent in this community. The choice to drink under age and drive is a CHOICE these teens make.
They also choose to drive fast in our town, and speed in the parking lots of the schools. Common sense is thrown out the window because at this age they are invincible. To those who have mentioned there is not enough activities in Pleasanton to participate in is an excuse not to get involved. The City of Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Department have plenty of opportunities to find something to do. Give the city a call. Drinking at parties in the city have gone for years. If parents and community members REALLY want to get involved to deter this behavior use the internet. Google is your friend. Find the party websites. You'll probably surprised if you don't see your children posing for pics on this sites. Find the party fliers that are passed out the high schools on Thursdays and Fridays in your kids backpacks and rooms. Teens see nothing wrong with this behavior because the city maintains a low tolerance policy. The resolution to this party atmosphere is a mere ticket by the police to those at the party but only if the police become aware of the party. The police have a job to do the law is the law no matter how nice a person this teen was. We ALL have a responsibility to be MORE active. We have lost 4 young lives in this town in 2007, 4 in the past month. What is acceptable collateral damage number before we ALL step up and protect our children. I just lost a family member and my heart goes out to the families and their friends who that have been affected by this incident. You never move on, you just go on because you have to for those who are left behind.
Posted by Curious, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2007 at 2:01 pm
Paula and Raven-
What party websites? I monitor my teens and their internet use very closely. They have not visited any site like you mention. My teens have been to some of the parties in town. I am not happy about it,but they were honest and we got through it. That is a separate subject. More to the point, neither of them have heard about the party websites you are refering to. Can you offer some specifics?
Posted by raven, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2007 at 2:48 pm
It's great that you are a open minded mom. It's important to know what your kids are looking at. Since the material I would send you is of a VERY graphic nature, I cannot post it here. However, off line I can offer you web sites that are set up to post pictures. Some sites are members only for a minimal fee, but sending pictures of these parties are free. The reason that I am aware of these sites is because my friends daughter was posted when she was 17 and she was not hired into a law firm because of it. She never knew this happened until she was told of the tip given to the law firm.
After viewing this site, I saw 8 girls from our high schools in these pictures from 2005-2006 graduating classes.
If you are a member of these sites you can post party places, in code of course, of where these parties are. The codes change all the times. If you interested in some of the codes listed in emails or websites that you might have seen and did not know what it meant let me know.
Please remember however, not all parties end up like these sites, BUT if drinking is happening then these situations can happen.Your kids should NEVER see these sites. Predators are everywhere, all ages.
Posted by Young adult, a resident of San Ramon, on Nov 10, 2007 at 4:17 pm
It is clear that Katie makes bad decisions. She was arrested for assault while drinking earlier this year and now she injured an elderly lady and killed her "BEST" friend.
How can you say she needs to get out of jail asap to move on with her life. She did not change after her first arrest. Don't you think she needs to spend a huge amount of time in jail to pay for what she has done?
(portion of comment removed by PW staff) All of you are correct when stating that kids drink. That reality is that if you are so out of control that you get arrested for assault while drinking that should be the red light that shows her and her parents that she needed help. Obviously nothing changed!!!!
She killed a person and now she needs to pay the price. Give me a break all of you that think she should not spend time in jail. You have all lost your minds. Thank God she did not kill the poor elderly lady as well. It is horrible that she killed 1 person it easily could have been 2 people.
It is horrible for her family but they have to pay the price as well. (portion of comment removed by PW staff)
Posted by Annonymous, a resident of another community, on Nov 10, 2007 at 5:11 pm
Young adult, Perfect comment. I applaud you for your smart opinion and the truth of the matter. I would feel blessed to say you were my child. There is more to this picture unfortunately, the parents hands were tied, Katie did not live with her parents, they did try, but the fact is that she was over 18 and chose to move away to do as she pleased. The family tried to my best knowledge, Katie was given the opportunity to live elsewhere, and they did not set the same kind of boundaries that Katie's family probably tried.
Posted by new resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2007 at 6:21 pm
Pretty scary stuff! We are new to town and I have a son at Foothill High; he is a junior. The first week at school he came home and talked about the drinking at the school. He said it was all the students talked about, that and the sex that comes with it. Funny, we move from a racially diverse city and high school were most kids wanted to surf or work out. Sure kids had an plenty of opportunity to get into trouble there, but it seemed like the kids were much more candid with adults than the kids are here. My oldest son called me when he was a senior and asked me to pick him up after he had a few beers, sure I was pissed, but in the end he acted responsibly, he graduates college this fall, thank God without a blemish on his record. I know my high school student would do the same and when my 10 year old gets older...he will too. one posted called it right ITS ABOUT PARENTING. This accident was so tragic, but there were a number of people responsible for Laurel's unnecessary death. While Laurel paid the ultimate price for a bad choice and Katie is off to prison, especially if she had a previous alcohol related offense...parents should not hide their heads in the sand and think it couldn't happen to your kids. Your kids (and mine) live in a world much different than we all did and our challenges are much different that our parents challenges. It's not about being your kids best friend, but it is about earning and demanding their respect. They have to know the boundries, but also, if the make a mistake, they need to count on us as well. It's not an easy job that's for sure, but it's one that must be done well.
Posted by Annonymous, a resident of another community, on Nov 10, 2007 at 6:41 pm
San Ramon resident, NO that is not what I said!!!! I have a 20 year old and I never will give up on being her parent. If she lived with me, there would be rules!!!!! If she chose to move away because of my rules, that makes her her own responsible person!!!! Katie I know for a fact since I knew her, did not like the rules her mother did to help the situation, and so she moved away to a place where she did not have the same conditions. Katie stayed where she could have her freedom of the places she could go and have no repercussions. Her car was in her name!!!! The parents could not make Katie do anything since she did not want to live under the house rules!!!!!
Posted by Samuel, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Nov 10, 2007 at 7:34 pm
I am so sad for Laurel's family. Her parents and friends will always have a stone in their hearts. To lose such a beautiful child so young is the worst thing that can happen to a mother and a father.
I am sad for Katie's family and for Katie as well. While it is true that Katie still has her life, she has to bear the guilt of Laurel's death. None of us can even imagine what that must feel like.
I haven't read much about Nancy Bressem, the driver of the Mercedes, but I imagine she is traumatized in addition to her physical injuries. A lot of the focus is on Laurel and Katie, but I don't think we should forget that Mrs. Bressem is an innocent victim in this, as well.
There is a drinking culture among youth in Pleasanton, but it comes from the adults. Adults show up at high school events at both Foothill and Amador drunk and they "tailgate" in the parking lots, contrary to both district policy and the law.
I agree that people in Pleasanton never seem to learn from these tragedies. The high schools have the anti-drunk driving program, "Every 15 Minutes" alternating every other year, but it has no discernible effect on the behavior of either the teens or their parents.
I just wish someone in Katie's and Laurel's circle of family and friends had set their foot down about the drinking, especially after Katie's alcohol-related problem with the law this past June.
I think so many people are expressing anger at Katie because they want to deflect attention away from their own families and their own kids. No one wants to re-examine the Pleasanton community and admit that Katie's behavior is not all that unusual; lots of teens get rip-roaring drunk and their parents either host the party or turn a blind eye to it.
Katie is not a bad person, she is a person who made a terrible mistake, and she has paid a price and will continue to pay a price her whole life.
What has the Pleasanton community learned from this tragedy? As far as I can tell, not a thing.
Posted by a young man, a resident of Livermore, on Nov 10, 2007 at 8:42 pm
I know everyone makes their own decisions, that why were all here after all. but please do not answer that question. word of mouth is such a terrible way of transferring info; Especially when its written. Not that its bad its just not appropriate.
Posted by Young Man, a resident of San Ramon, on Nov 10, 2007 at 9:47 pm
If Katie couldn't live under her parents rules and wanted to move out so she could party and live a crazy life then she should be held accountable for her actions. I am confused by those of you that think she should not spend time in jail. You are defending her parents in one breath saying she moved out so she could continue to be wild and not follow any rules and in the next breath you are saying she shouldn't go to jail. It is very clear that she is 100% out of control. She was arrested at least once already for being out of control and did not learn from that mistake. Her parents could not do anything according to the person above. Katie wasn't doing anything to get help. Therefore it shows she is 100% out of control and needs to pay for her mistake. She needs to spend her time in jail and repent for killing Laurel and killing the heart of her family and friends!!!!! Hopefully after she spends several years in jail she will have learned from her stupidty and try and do something good with her life. The sad note is even when that time comes Laurel will not come back and her family and friends will still have a dead spot in their hearts from this horrible act......
Posted by the truth, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2007 at 10:08 pm
yeah, that's it relative. blame laurel for making the wrong decision. what's wrong with posting her booking photo? was she not booked into jail? heaven forbid poor, sweet, innocent katie be portrayed as the inmate that she is...
Posted by Annonymous, a resident of another community, on Nov 10, 2007 at 10:29 pm
First the young man hits it on the mark. And for the posting from Las Positas Neighborhood, it was not her mothers best friend she was babysitting for. I know the facts closer to home more than most on this posting. She babysat yes, but get your story straight, it was not Katie's moms best friend!
Posted by Katies family, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2007 at 11:01 pm
Mrs. San Ramon,
I am so sick of your comments about Katie. You sound like you walk on water!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Let me brake it to you, You don't. I'm sure if we went thru your past, you aren't as innocent as you make yourself out to be! You are a grown adult so start acting like one.
Posted by Young man, a resident of San Ramon, on Nov 10, 2007 at 11:16 pm
I agree that we all have our issues. The problem I have is the fact that if you read through this list of crap there are a great deal of people that feel Katie should not be punished for her crime.
I also know that usually when someone has an issue and they get a wake up call (like being arrested for assault while being drunk) they wake up and smell the coffee and try and correct that problem. Katie didn't take that road and now there is a price to pay.
At the end of the day, Katie should accept her punishment to help her with her guilt that she will have forever. I guess there will be a lot of guilt on her parents shoulders as well for not taking a greater stand when they had the chance.
Posted by Relatives, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2007 at 11:36 pm
To those that are on here saying hateful words:
Did any of you read the statement from Laurels mothers friend? She is hurting,mourning and surviving one day at a time. Saying mean things about Katie isn't going to make her pain go away! She needs to know she is not alone and there are a lot of people out here that care. This is to Laurels father too! Our prayers are with you!
Katie is my family member and we are mourning Laurel and hurting as a family for Katie and trying to give her the support she needs! Please stop with the bashing and insulting Katies Family! There are alot of statements that are being made that are not true! To those who give words of wisdom to all, I thank you
Posted by Jonathan formerly "a young man", a resident of Livermore, on Nov 11, 2007 at 12:06 am
well i will speak from experience, there is something fundamentally wrong with the jail system. Not that it does not work sure people are generally held for the extent of their period. However, these are also referred to as correctional facilities; And having said that who has failed, when i have spent a short period of time in jail and not learned my lesson? Have i failed to dig deep and really consider who i am and who i am becoming, or has the facility fail in correcting me. My thoughts after removing myself from that horrible experience were "boy i do not belong with that bunch"; Rather than, the more productive, "I really do not want to go back there" and "What will i have to change to keep from ending up in that situation". So my feeling were "my feeling" there for i deduce they are not wrong. That is what i focused on when entering an atmosphere of coloured suits denoting rank of badness. And people who really sought to commit crimes. Even bragged about the deeds. The atmosphere produced no correction.
Posted by Sincerely, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 12:11 am
To Katies Relatives...of course Katie is mourning Laurel,they loved each other and someone said earlier today, very wise words,we are judged on our Actions, not our good intentions....Hopefully, if any good comes of this it will be that when Katie does leave prison, as more than likely she will serve time, she will have something to share with other teens that will be valuable...God loves Katie just as much as all His children, and Katie's pain is much greater than any of us could understand....I am sorry to Laurel's mom and dad for their pain as well, but I doubt they are wanting anyone to hate on Katie...God bless to everyone. sincerely.
Posted by stop the hatred, a resident of another community, on Nov 11, 2007 at 7:32 am
People who are posting obviously don't know the facts and who Katie was babysitting for doesn't have anything to do with this.
To the people who are "hating" and making mean and hurtful comments about Katie and her family you need to try and understand that Katie and her family are not only dealing with Katie and what happened to her that Saturday morning and what is happening to her now but they are also grieving for Laurel and her family. Laurel was a part of Katie's family as well, she spent a lot of time at Katie's house so in essence Katie and her family lost a family member as well.
Not to take anything away from Laurel's family because they have suffered the worst lost imaginable but sympathy should be with both of these families, just because Katie made a horrible mistake doesn't mean she and her family should be shunned. Try to imagine if Katie was a family member or friend of yours and how you would be feeling.
Katie did wrong and will be punished for what she did, she will pay legally and worse than that she will pay by having guilt for the rest of her life, something like this doesn't just go away.
Katie loves Laurel and Laurel loves Katie, Being that they were best friends, I am sure that Laurel wouldn't want people to be bashing Katie and her family and would probably be defending Katie against all these harsh remarks.
Please people have some compassion for BOTH of these families, Katie and her family are going through a lot too, not as bad as Laurel's, but a lot.
My heart, prayers and sympathy goes out to both of these families.
Posted by To "the truth", a resident of another community, on Nov 11, 2007 at 7:42 am
To "the truth":
Just because Laurel didn't make it doesn't erase her responsibility in this situation. Laurel was an adult responsible for making her own decisions so she IS to blame for getting into the car with Katie being drunk. Of course, she is not fully to blame and I am sure nobody is implying that. Katie did get into the car and drive so we all know that she burdens most of the blame.
They BOTH made bad decisions that fateful morning.
Posted by Ben, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 8:14 am
To all of you that have a negative attitude about Katie, show me a person that is perfect and I'll show you a person that is no good. Katie is not the only one that is at fault. I yet to hear about the person that purchased the booze - what will you have to say about him or her ?? You are so quick to point your finger at only one person, Katie, which is entirely wrong !! It takes two to tango !! As I sit hear and read all of these negative comments from parents, complete strangers, etc. I am appalled that you would even put this type of info in writing. One message that I have for those of you with the negative attitudes - tell me who your friends are and I can tell you what you are really like - and it won't be hard !! These negative comments will not bring Laurel back. Use your energy to help all that are suffering right now and stop the negative comments.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 8:36 am
Legally, Katie's biggest problem is the previous "alcohol related incident", I'm not sure if it was a DUI or not, but if it was serious, she will most likely get the maximum sentence, anywhere from 5 to 10 years. If this was her first offense, she would have gotten just a year or two, even with the fatality.
(portion removed by PW staff) Katie didn't intend to kill her best friend that morning; she didn't murder her. She made a tragic mistake, one that will be with her for the rest of her life, I can't imagine. (portion removed by PW staff) As any citizen, Katie deserves a good defense and justice in this case will be served. Katie will need even stronger role models now and Laurel's family needs a chance to morn. Sadly, we will all tire of this in the next few months. Laurel's and Katies family will never be able to forget.
Posted by Another truth..., a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 9:03 am
It is highly likely that at some point, Katie and Laurel had the conversation that they knew they shouldn't drink and drive. No doubt they were told, they knew in their hearts, but again, you put alchohol in large amounts into the body of someone who can't control it and all control is lost....I am a recovered alchoholic and I have taken AA meetings inside jails for H&I (Hospitals and Institutions) and you see it on the faces,the remorse,the regret, the pain of girls/women who would change it all if they could. I drank and drove before I got sober many years ago, and I am grateful and thankful that I never took another life because of my actions, when liquor is in me I have no CONTROL. Beautiful laurel is an angel now and Katie will no doubt (hopefully) find sobriety and something positive will come from this, even if down the road she helps another woman intro recovery. God bless all these families...And Katie too...She will and has paid for her actions....
Posted by kathy, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 9:14 am
(portion removed by PW staff) Katie didn't intend to kill her best friend that morning; she didn't murder her. She made a tragic mistake, one that will be with her for the rest of her life, I can't imagine. I just wish that some of the people in her life were better role models. As any citizen, Katie deserves a good defense and justice in this case will be served. Katie will need even stronger role models now and Laurel's family needs a chance to morn. Sadly, we will all tire of this in the next few months. Laurel's and Katies family will never be able to forget.
Posted by Forgiveness, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 1:49 pm
I believe in forgiveness. I hope that Katie will be given the opportunity to turn her life around and go to some of the local high schools and preach to them about the dangers of alcohol and driving based on her own tragedy.
God bless both families. My prayers go out to them all and my prayers go out to those of you that are filled with so much judgement and hatred.
Posted by unknown, a resident of San Ramon, on Nov 11, 2007 at 4:20 pm
To posting of Katie's family,
Aren't we entitled to our own opinions? You're right I am not perfect and either was Katie, but she broke the law a couple of times and will have to pay the price for it now. I see Laurel's dad almost everyday and that's why my emotions are involved in this. I see the saddness in his eyes and the hurt that will NEVER
Posted by unknown, a resident of San Ramon, on Nov 11, 2007 at 4:21 pm
To posting of Katie's family,
Aren't we entitled to our own opinions? You're right I am not perfect and either was Katie, but she broke the law a couple of times and will have to pay the price for it now. I see Laurel's dad almost everyday and that's why my emotions are involved in this. I see the saddness in his eyes and the hurt that will NEVER go away, so let me speak.
Posted by Confused, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Nov 11, 2007 at 6:10 pm
I would like to propose a suggestion to all reading this if you haven't already done so. Even if you think you son/daughter dosen't drink, make the suggestion anyway.
Get together immediately with your son or daughter and all of their immediate friends. Tell them that if the situation ever occurs where they have had anything to drink and need a ride that you'll will either pick them up without judgement or consequence and ensure that they get home safely. Or if for some reason you are not home, keep the numbers of several cab companies in your cell phone and get an address where you will have them picked up and driven home, again without judgement or consequence. If everyone that is truely concerned about this subject does this and it is done with all of your kids immediate friends I can't imagine that most kids in Pleasanton wouldn't have at least several options if such a situation should occur. While this is not a perfect solution it is a step in a positive direction and could only potentially help a situation that exists far more often than most would be willing to admit. Rather than continuing to question right vs wrong or debate the law vs compassion, maybe everyone putting some real energy into alternatives to the reality of kids (or adults) drinking and driving will take this aweful tragedy and use it a motivation for something positive for the future.
Posted by Get Real, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 6:59 pm
Yes, Perhaps Katie and Laurel were both drunk, but Katie had the keys and was ultimatly responsible, she will now pay the price, as unfortunatly so has Laurel for Katie's poor choices. Unfortunatly also, by being drunk in a car and killing her friend and injuring an older woman, we do have a right to judge Katie, which will be done by the community in court by a jury of her peers. No, Katie did not "murder Lauren in cold blood", but her poor decisons casued her best friends death, that is a crime and she will be judged as the criminal she has ultimatly become. (portion removed by PW staff) You see here so called friends should be judged as the poor influence they all are, both her young friends and old.
Posted by the truth, a resident of the Bridle Creek neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 7:29 pm
"Just because Laurel didn't make it doesn't erase her responsibility in this situation. Laurel was an adult responsible for making her own decisions so she IS to blame for getting into the car with Katie being drunk. Of course, she is not fully to blame and I am sure nobody is implying that. Katie did get into the car and drive so we all know that she burdens most of the blame.
They BOTH made bad decisions that fateful morning."
yes, laurel made a bad judgment call by getting in the car when katie was drunk, but it does not constitute a criminal act. if laurel had lived, only one of them would be a suspect in a crime and it wouldn't be laurel. katie "burdens most of the blame."????? not quite sport. try ALL of it. only one of them drove drunk. only one of them crashed the car while driving drunk. you don't have multiple suspects in a DUI case. there is only one suspect in this case. know who it is? i'll give you a hint. it's the one whose mugshot is posted in this article.
Posted by Young adult, a resident of San Ramon, on Nov 11, 2007 at 8:08 pm
To Friends of both girls:
Assuming Laurel was drunk then her judgement was clouded. You rely on your friends not to drive drunk. Laurel didn't drive!!!! Laurel wasn't arrested for assault while being drunk a few months ago. Laurel doesn't have a picture of her drinking from a bottle of vodka in a car on her my space page. Katie is/was out of control. As a friend to both girls it is sad that none of you stepped in to help Katie.
It is sad that whomever dropped them off at their car did not stop them from leaving. I hope your group of friends have learned from this. When I was is school we all looked out for each other. Sure we drank before we were suppose to but we always made sure that no one drove drunk. I hope all of your friends step up in the future and actually act like friends. Friends don't drop their friends off at their cars when they are 3 times the legal drinking limit. Katie with an almost .3 blood alc level probably could barely walk. I just don't understand what kind of friends would allow her to drive. I would love to hear from the person that dropped them off at her car. That person should feel just as guilty as Katie!!!!!
Posted by kathy, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 8:09 pm
I agree that Katie should be held responsible to the elder's injuries. But, come on now, We are know Katie was drunk and she decided to drive. But, Laurel made the decision on getting in the care with her. She was an adult and should have known better. Even though we all think that some one over 21 offered the alcohol to them, they should have known better not to take it. It is their own darn fault for making a wrong decision. So, each of them were responsible for their own wrong decisions. Katie was also responsible for the old lady. Don't get me wrong, my heart goes to Laurel and her family, but she had an educated brain which she should have also used.
Now that I know Katie had a prior record she should definitely be held responsible for the fact, but not having to stay in the jail for that long. She should be given the responsibility of going to school and talking to teenage kids about drinking and driving.
She should have to this for may be 15 years. But, come on what good could jail do for a young girl???
Posted by Young adult, a resident of San Ramon, on Nov 11, 2007 at 8:14 pm
Do you know what her prior record was? You Don't? (portion removed by PW staff) One would think that a 19 year old would learn from this "Bad Judgement" She should have been talking to schools after that arrest. (portion removed by PW staff) Someone should have put her in rehab back then. They didn't!!! Now she must pay the price and serve her time. There are some people in life that just don't learn from their mistakes.
Posted by ., a resident of the Foothill Place neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 8:18 pm
If Laurel was not killed in that accident the blame would all be on Katies shoulders for injuring the older lady. Laurel would have to deal with drinking under age but the accident would still be 100% katies issue. You are not responsible as a passenger
Posted by Dude, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 8:24 pm
I hate to sound insensitive.......but just because Katie is the one with the charges against her doesn't excuse Laurel from some poor decisions.
I think some people are having difficulty in placing some blame on Laurel for her own death.
Obviously Katie made mistakes too. She'll pay for it, so what else do you want? Why make a villain out of her? She didn't intend for any of this to happen. I feel sorry for her. Imagine what kind of fear and anguish she is going through right now.
Posted by Kerry, a resident of Livermore, on Nov 11, 2007 at 8:33 pm
"You are not responsible as a passenger" - I sincerly hope you are only meaning legally.
While I know that the law wouldn't hold Laurel responsible (even though I believe it should), I strongly believe the town would. That's all I was getting at - was that if the circumstances were different and she had not died I believe everyone would be saying "Those two girls would drove drunk" instead of just "Katie."
Posted by ., a resident of the Foothill Place neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 9:10 pm
I am sure we all wish we had the chance to be upset with Laurel right now Kerry. Maybe this could have opened the eyes of many but we don't have that opportunity.
I feel for Katie and her family. I am just tired of hearing people on this blog act as if Katie shouldn't pay for what she did. I am sure she is going through hell right now. We all have those feelings when it is time to pay the consequences for our actions.
Posted by unknown, a resident of San Ramon, on Nov 11, 2007 at 9:11 pm
Katie's lucky she gets to experience anguish and fear, dude. She's still alive to feel that, dude. What's wrong with you and your generation is that you don't take responsibility for your actions, dude. Laurel's only miscalculation in this whole horrid incicdent is that she had a friend who was an irresponsible selfish drunk,dude.
Posted by Kerry, a resident of Livermore, on Nov 11, 2007 at 9:35 pm
I absolutely agree that Katie needs to have consequences for what she did. Please don't misinterpret my post - I am however trying to bring light to the fact that there are many who share responsibility for the events that happened that morning (some more than others).
"Maybe this could have opened the eyes of many but we don't have that opportunity."
This is what upsets me. Yes, we've already lost one individual in this terrible tragedy and another's life has taken a drastic turn. But there are so many still left that can learn from this.
We keep saying how we hope that Katie better take something from this and do something positive when she gets out of prison. But that could be ten years from now. What are we going to do now for Pleasanton? I personally don't have the answer but I feel as though this is something that this message board could work towards answering.
Posted by sidenote, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 9:37 pm
to those that spew the drivel of "think how you would feel if your child were in katie's shoes". yeah, if my child drove drunk and killed someone, i would be right there with you all displacing blame, deflecting accountability, making excuses, calling for compassion, and asking for leniency. not because it's right, but because it's my child. would that make it right? no. it would only prove that the kinship was clouding my judgment.
Posted by Graduate of FHS 06', a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 9:57 pm
I graduated with both Katie and Laurel and I have been to parties with them. (portion removed by the PW staff) It was only a matter of time until this happened which really doesn't surprise me at all. (portion removed by PW staff) Katie is the loud and crazy one. I do feel compassion for Laurel's family because she really had a lot out in front of her. I wasn't really friends with either one, but we knew of one another. Katie really needs to punished for what she has done because it really is not fair to Laurel or the lady in the SUV. If one can even walk and drive a bit with a .24 BAL, that should really tell you something. But we shall see what happens in the end.
Posted by Dude, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 10:02 pm
I don't appreciate you mocking my name. It's Dean Martin's name in the movie "Rio Bravo."
I never said Katie shouldn't take responsibility for her actions. She'll pay for her mistakes. My concern is with the malicious villainizing of her.
Katie may have been fortunate to live, but I don't think "lucky" is the word I'd use.
I think Laurel's miscalculation was deciding to drink irresponsibly. If she was going to make the decision to get wasted, she should've had a plan to get home safely. She did make the choice to get in the car with Katie.
Posted by ., a resident of the Foothill Place neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 10:22 pm
Dude don't confuse stating the facts with villainizing Katie. (portion removed by PW staff) Then she kills someone and injures someone else. Those actions villainize Katie not the words of any of us on this Blog!!!!
Posted by ., a resident of the Foothill Place neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 10:30 pm
Dude you are the one that said you are concerned with her being villainized. No one means for these things to happen. but when people are headed down a bad path these things happen. listen to the people above and the stories of how out of control Katie is/was. The will punish her. She'll be out of jail in her early 20's and will still have plenty of time for life. Laurel won't have that opportunity
As for the sarcasm what do you expect when you use a screen name like DUDE?
Posted by :), a resident of another community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 5:21 am
unknown: "Laurel's only miscalculation in this whole horrid incicdent is that she had a friend who was an irresponsible selfish drunk,dude."
Really?, You are obviously close to Laurel's family so it is hard to admit, but Laurel is partially responsible, she should not have gotten into the car with her friend that was drunk, which we are all taught at the same time we are taught not to drink and drive.
Laurel's family and friends are trying to displace blame and make it all Katie's fault as much as Katie's family and friends are trying to get people to not be so cruel.
I can only speak for myself but knowing both girls, Katie better than Laurel, I DO blame Katie for her decisions that morning and I DO blame Laurel for her decisions that morning. Legally Katie IS responsible and I DO think that she should be punished for her decisions, how much is up to the court systems.
I just wish that people would stop being so harsh, she is a 19-year old girl that made horrible decisions and will pay for those but I believe, like what was posted above, if Laurel didn't die people would be talking about BOTH girls' decisions that night, not just Katie's.
We shouldn't ignore the bad decisions of Laurel just because she didn't make it.
Posted by ,, a resident of the Pleasanton Village neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 8:17 am
:) Your comment about Laurels family and friends displacing blame is out of line. People with your attitude/belief are enablers to people like Katie. If someone would have taken a hard line on her when she assaulted a police officer while being drunk earlier this year maybe she would have cleaned up and not been in this situation.
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 8:40 am
This is horribly unfair to pit family against family. Both girls made desperately poor decisions and we can't know all the details that went in to this. Hopefully the courts will sort it out and apply the law as necessary to punish the perpetrator and keep the rest of us safe (jail time).
I have my own strong opinions but after reading so many sides of the issue I spent time this weekend re assessing my own family members choices over the years. We all do make poor decisions at times and need to be held accountable. My own son spent a brief amount of jail time over 3 consecutive tickets for using no seatbelt. The judge decided to hit the pleasanton kids hard for their careless and selfish decisions. I was horrified...BUT I supported the police and judge regardless of my need to protect my son. The outcome? He now obeys the law and wears his seatbelt. Something finally made a difference (being in jail for 3 days scared the heck out of him).
Thank God nothing happened to him during that time but I couldnt' make the difference in his life and the law did.
Let's take time to look within our own families and remember that we are all imperfect at times. Let's hope that the facts are heard in court and that justice is served. Let's stop pitting these families against one another and putting down parents who we have no idea how they may have struggled with the prior actions of these girls.
Posted by :), a resident of another community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 9:21 am
''If you read the rest of my comment I do blame Katie for her actions that morning and I do think she needs to suffer the consequences of her actions in no way am I justifying what Katie did that morning and I do agree with what you said about the previous incident.
I shouldn't have said that Laurel's family and friends were displacing blame, I should have said that some people posting comments (which I assumed were family and friends because some of them said that) where displacing blame. There are people commenting on how this wasn't Laurel's fault at all and I strongly disagree with that. Perfect example is:
unknown: "Laurel's only miscalculation in this whole horrid incicdent is that she had a friend who was an irresponsible selfish drunk,dude."
Laurel was irresponsible that morning as well.
My thoughts and prayers are with both families I just think people are being unfair and insensitive.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 9:51 am
I've been Laurel's best friend since we were one and two years old. Her and Katie met in high school, they have not been friends since they were kids. For the record Laurels mom tried very hard to keep Laurel away from Katie, which she succeeded in for a while just until recently. Katie deserves to pay the ultimate price for what she has done. She has affected so many peoples lives by this and she shows no remorce for it. For those of you who think that Katie should not spend time in jail you are full of crap. For those of you who didnt know Laurel she was the sweetest girl i have ever met. She was full of life and love. She didnt deserve to die. Katie needs to be punished. She needs to learn her lesson for all the things she has done. I'm glad that she will have to live with what she has done for the rest of her life and i hope a good chunk of that time is spent behind bars.
Posted by ^(-_- ^), a resident of Livermore, on Nov 12, 2007 at 10:18 am
Both girls were drunk and theres no need to look into this they were 2 teenage girls at an all nighter party (of course they were both intoxicated, anyone whos been to a party like that would know whats up), not like either of them had any good sence to say hey we shouldnt drive, better yet what about the person who drove them??? shouldnt he/she be the real one to blame?? this could have been avoided if he/she drove them home, couldnt it? the answer is yes it could have been and SHOULD have been avoided. For those of you who say "she deserves this" blah blah blah it's real easy to point the finger out of spite and out of anger, there isnt any real one person to blame here, so why should katie take all the blame for the person who bought the stuff, the person who drove them to their car FULL KNOWING (common sence for christs sake) that they were still buzzing, and thus the "actual crime" that took place where yet another young teen loses her life
It's truely sad to see my generation destroy lives and i say generation not just katie here, I can only hope that some sort of awareness comes from this....
Posted by Dude, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 10:50 am
I really don't mean to sound cruel.....but if Laurel's mother tried to get Laurel away from Katie, knowing of Katie's problems......then Laurel knew what kind of person she was hanging out with. And rather than helping her friend, I'm sure Laurel was right there beside her, drinking. Laurel made that choice, and she made the choice to get in the car.
Posted by :/, a resident of another community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 10:58 am
Laurel's best friend:
I understand your anger but really think about how many of your friends party and drive home, could this have happened to you or one of your friends? If it was Laurel's car would she have drove home?
Why do you say that Katie shows no remorse for this, have you spoke to her?
Laurel was an adult and made the decision to hang out with Katie, to get drunk with Katie and to get in the car with Katie, so why are you placing all of the blame on Katie?
I am sure that Laurel was the sweetest girl and no she didn't deserve to die, but Katie didn't intend for that to happen either.
People wake up, Laurel was an adult and was fully capable of making her own decisions. She could have told Katie that she shouldn't drive (friends don't let friends drive drunk) OR she could have not gotten in the car with Katie.
Katie WILL suffer the consequences but "being glad that she will have to live with what she has done for the rest of her life..." is a horrible thing to say, this was an ACCIDENT, not on purpose.
Posted by Concerned for Teens, a resident of the Danbury Park neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 10:59 am
People, try and understand something else...these girls were 19, everyone talks as if you have a lot of control over 19 year olds and as a parent that is hard! I know, they do what they want to do when they want, they are past grounding, they do what and with whom they want most of the time....Intervention is the only answer with some kids at this point, and there is alot to that...Put alchohol into someone too much and it takes over...my 20 year old son is in recovery thank goodness, but he had to make that choice for himself! Realizing one has a problem comes from ones self...I have seen plenty of "good kids" raised in two parent homes with all the "fixins" and they still drink and party and get in trouble...Sorry, but the parent thing only goes so far here..
Posted by Forgiveness Heals, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 11:15 am
After spending a good hour just reading the comments here I feel saddened and disappointed in all the bad mouthing that has been going on, my son was a 2006 Foothill graduate and I can't imagine something so tragic happening to him or his friends, but it did... just remembering Joel Davis makes me shiver, what makes me sad and happy though is seeing Joels mom watching a LX game with the mom of the child who was driving the car that fateful evening... talk about forgiveness, she has showed me her strength and has given me strength as well to look at the memories these boys have made with eachother, I am sure she grieves but she grieves and is helping the driver accept the guilt and move on with his life. We should all take a moment and see how forgiveness can help us heal!!! Our prayers to all 3 families..
Posted by Another Relative, a resident of another community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 11:16 am
Friends and family of Laurel's showing up in court wearing t-shirts with Laurel's picture on it, fighting for the maximum penalty for Katie, acting as if Laurel was a saint. That is absurd!!
It is HORRIBLE that Laurel died. It is HORRIBLE that Katie, her best friend, was the one driving. But there were two adults in that car. Two adults who made the decision to drink. Two adults who knew EXACTLY what they were doing. Yes, it was Katie that was driving. Yes, Katie is the one that killed her best friend. But remember that there were TWO adults involved. Not counting the adults that supplied these underage kids with alcohol. Other adults who drove Katie and Laurel to Katie's car. Laurel is not a saint. She was also drinking. It so easily could have been Laurel that was driving, and Katie as the passenger. This time it happened to be Katie driving and a HORRIBLE tragedy occurred. But don't make it out that Laurel was a saint and Katie is all at fault.
My thoughts and prayers are with Laurel and Katie's family. They are paying dearly for this HORRIBLE accident. And that is what it is. An accident. I hope Katie learns from this, along with other underage drinkers out there. Sadly, I doubt anyone besides the families directly involved will learn anything.
Posted by WHATEVER, a resident of another community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 11:41 am
Another relative, and anyone else that cares
Katie had a HORRIBLE drinking problem, that caused her to assult an officer, and had her calling Laurel's mother to apologize for her HORRIBLE actions the day of Laurel's birthday. Katie's family knew she had an issue with drinking. But as the WONDERFUL person that Laurel was, she put all of those HORRIBLE ISSUES ASIDE, and continued her friendship with Katie, because, yes, Katie is a good person with a problem she can not solve on her own. But her repeat actions that have not been addressed by an adult figure in her life have caused a death. The newspapers are saying that She was in a rehab center after the accident... Why had she not been going to rehab before this?? I for one do not feel that it is a bad thing to say that she needs to be in jail. I myself will forgive her, in time. But there are still so many factors as to why this even happened. If you could only hear the rumors that surface during family gatherings... How are we to handle this.. There are so many things that will become clear during the trial.. I just pray for katie at this point, she needs it. Laurel is in a better place and is now watching over us...
Posted by Deanna, a resident of another community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 11:47 am
I have heard about this tragedy from my dearest friend who is a relative to Katie. I pray for healing, peace and comfort for the families and friends of Laurel, Nancy and Katie.
This is a no-win situation for anyone. There is no amount of condemnation, anger or bitterness that will change the events nor the outcome, eventhough it is human nature to feel such emotions. I feel tremendous empathy for Laurel's family and wish for a fast recovery for Nancy. For Katie's family--hold strong. Unfortunately, Katie and Laurel made poor decisions that has forever changed everyone's lives. I would like to urge everyone (with time and healing) to find understanding and compassion for each family. Turn this obstacle into opportunity and do not let either of these young lives be in vain.
For those who are so embittered towards Katie...bear in mind that she will pay a very high price for her actions. She will have her day in court and serve her sentence, lose her license as well as never hold a pass-port for the rest of her life. Her family did not make the choice for Katie to drink and drive. They are hurting, too, and compassion can go a long way. Find a way to come together so that all can heal and, remember, forgiveness is not for Katie...instead it is for each of you to move forward without anger and bitterness. I'm sure that Laurel would want all to love and miss her, but to carry on her memory to serve her famiy and community well and find some way for goodness to come out this tragic loss.
Posted by Pleasanton, a resident of the Canyon Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 12:19 pm
I do agree that the driver should face the consequences of her actions as did the victim paying with her life. Unfortunately life deals bad cards and this is one of the worst that the driver will have to deal with, she must feel hated.. which I am sure she is by many, she must feel love, which she is and yet she is alone in the fact that she must live life knowing that she contributed in taking the life of her dear friend. Life sucks at times, this should be a wake up call to all.
Posted by Samuel, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 12:20 pm
My explanation for at least some (notice I wrote "some", not "all") of the hatred and bitterness directed at Katie is that people don't wish to examine the larger issue, which is the culture of teen drinking in Pleasanton. It is a culture that is not only tolerated by even encouraged by many parents, who'd rather let their kids get rip-roaring drunk than say "no" to them. After all, we all know that teens don't like consequences, and a lot of parents want to be their kids' "buddies".
The teens already have friends; they don't need a 45-year-old "buddy", they need a parent who will put his/her foot down and say "no".
That is not to say that everybody who is angry at Katie is not justified in feeling that way; it's understandable to be angry at Katie for her irresponsible actions. As several people have already pointed out, aggravated vehicular manslaughter is a very serious charge and Katie can go to state prison for a number of years if convicted. Even worse than that is the guilt Katie will bear for the rest of her life for her responsibility in this accident that killed Laurel and badly injured Mrs. Bressem.
But what I'm perceiving is that a lot of people in Pleasanton want to believe that Katie is evil incarnate, because if they believe that, then they don't need to turn and look at the community at large and keep asking why these drunk driving accidents and fatalities keep happening in the Pleasanton community. When people look at the example of Katie and Laurel, they don't want to say, "That could be my kid, too", which is the truth.
Once again, I ask: What has the community of Pleasanton learned from this tragedy? If the comments on this message board are representative of community sentiment, I'd have to say that people haven't learned a thing. And that's the worst tragedy of all: this will happen again because people are all too eager to disregard what's happening in their own families and neighborhoods with teens drinking and adults modeling poor drinking habits for them (yes, a lot of Pleasanton adults drive drunk and show up drunk to school functions such as plays and sporting events, as well as Back To School Night!).
I'm not a deeply religious person by any means, but I think this quote is quite appropriate: "ďAnd why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" (Luke 6:41)
It really does no good to discuss the issue of Katie's responsibility v. Laurel's responsibility. Laurel's bad decisions are irrelevant and do not mitigate Katie's responsibility for this accident one bit. Katie tested for a blood alcohol level of about .24, which is more than three times the legal limit for a person over 21--and Katie is only 19. Laurel made a bad decision to be Katie's passenger, but that won't matter in Katie's trial one bit, and everybody here knows--or should know--that.
As for Katie's ultimate fate, that's in the hands of the legal system in the short term and in Katie's hands in the long run. The court can sentence Katie to years in prison, but what happens to Katie after that is up to one person: herself. Katie has many years of life remaining to her, and it is within her power to redeem herself as much as a person can, if that's what she wants. We all make mistakes; Katie has made a terrible one and changed her own life as well as a lot of other people's.
Laurel's life is over, but Katie's is just beginning. Whether Katie turns this way or that in her life now is up to her. The best thing to do is for Katie (and her friends) to acknowledge her responsibility and admit that Katie will have to pay the price for her bad choices--I'm a bit taken aback by people who keep saying that Laurel is partly to blame. What does that mean, exactly? Should Katie not go to prison if the accusation that she was driving with a blood alcohol level of .24 (three times the legal limit of intoxication) is true? What's next, claiming that Mrs. Bressem is "partly to blame" because she shouldn't have been on Foothill Road at the same time as Katie?
I have no hate whatsoever for Katie, and actually quite a lot of sympathy for her (after all, she's so young!) but Katie needs to acknowledge responsibility for her actions and pay for her bad decisions.
Posted by Dude, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 1:04 pm
Good comments. Nobody is saying Katie doesn't deserve to go to jail because Laurel made some bad decisions. I just don't think Laurel should be made out to be an innocent victim. If we're going to learn from this incident, we should learn not to get in the car with someone who is drunk. And if we do make the decision to drink, we should make a responsible plan to get home safely.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 1:23 pm
An important first step is to stop calling 19 year olds "kids". Parents tend to treat their teenage children less like adults and more like kids and calling 19 year olds "kids" is an example of this. I've noticed that teens in the European countries I've been to tend to be a lot more adult-like than Pleasanton teens. Why? Is it because they are given greater responsibility and held accountable to said responsibility. Here we seem to try to shield our children from such responsibilities and expect them to suddenly be able to handle adult life once they turn a certain age. It never made any sense to me.
I don't have any teens, but I do have a toddler. He learns by imitating me within well established boundaries. Aren't teens no different, trying to imitate adults? Show them how to be adults before they reach the age of 18!
Speaking of this, does anyone remember the Pleasanton mom who hired a stripper for her daughter's party? Doesn't sound any different from the rumors I've heard about parents hosting teen parties with alcohol.
Posted by people, a resident of the Civic Square neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 1:48 pm
How come they print what Katies alcohol level is but there not saying what Laurels was? Yes, this is important because we keep hearing over and over again about how innocent Laurel is! People hang out with people they have things in common with! They did join eachother to go to parties! We all know they were both intoxicated to make bad decisions! Even as my younger years, I never drank until the sun was rising! Laurels blood level will help justify how serious of a drinker she was too!
Does anyone from that party recall Laurels drinking behavior?
Posted by person, a resident of the California Somerset neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 1:51 pm
This is to Dude,
Please, Laurel is innocent? How could she be innocent if she was drunk too and got in the car. Friends don't let friends drink and drive unless maybe they are drunk tooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by me, a resident of another community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 2:16 pm
This amazes me. If Laurel and her family knew Katie had such a bad drinking problem, then maybe they all should have done whatever they could have to keep them apart. I blame both sides for this. Katie for getting behind the wheel and Laurel and her family for continuing to "hang" with Katie.
This should be the wake up call to parents, maybe if people did more things as "families" or found better activities for teens then these all night drinking parties wouldnt be happening. People will say that it is impossible to stop then, ok let them have them, and if you walk in the door you automatically give up the keys to the car!
No ifs and or buts about it.
Wake up parents! Spend more time with your teens, get them involved in activities other than drinking. Be responsible for the child that you brought into this world.
Parents are so wrapped up into themselves they forget about their children and what they get invloved in.
I blame both Laurel and her parents and Katie and her parents for this tragic accident. Where are the standards we are suppose to set for our childeren?
One more thing, if Katie was such an alchy, why did she even have a car to drive? Probably cause her parents didnt want to drag her butt around. hmmm
Posted by pleasanton teen, a resident of the Castlewood Heights neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 2:23 pm
There are teens that don't drink like these girls did..I am one, I am not a saint though, I just don't drink alcoholiclly. I have had drinks, but I don't drink until I can't feel my brain. Booze should be illegal, just like marijuana, and other drugs, it is a legal drug, how sad a world it is....
Posted by unknown, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 2:50 pm
I have run across a few parents in this town that serve alcohol to their under age children and their friends. I hate to say it, but quite often it starts in the home. What kind of an example are we setting? How responsible is it to serve these under age kids alcohol and then send them on their way out the door?
Posted by Young Male, a resident of the Foothill Place neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:05 pm
Me- How can you be so hard on Laurels parents. You have no idea how hard they tried to keep Laurel away from Katie. You have no idea that Katies parents were told that Katie needs to go to rehab after she assaulted a police officer while being drunk. Laurel was a great young lady with ahuge heart. She loved everyone and was probably to naive to peoples problems.
As for all of you that say Laurel is as much to blame as Katie just because Laurel was drinking that night you have all lost your minds. If that is true you should blame the entire party!!!! We don't know what happened.
We only know the facts
1. Katie has been arrested for a drinking related charge before.
2. Katies friends say Katie was out of control
3. Katies parents did not put her in rehab after the first issue, they supplied her with a car instead!!!!!!!!
Finally- I am confused why "DUDE" is trying so hard to attack Laurel and protect Katie. WAKE UP DUDE...you could have been the lady in the SUV that Katie hit or worse it could have been your mom or grandma or daughter..........
Posted by Shelley, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:10 pm
Ha! The stripper party! I remember that. I think the mom got busted.
Samuel, I like your post. You hit the nail on the head.
I've been to a party with a bunch of under-21 adults and we had alcohol there. Then I noticed that the parents were there too! Oh my god! I couldn't believe it. They supplied the tequila and margarita mix! And they were drinking with us too! That was off Foothill Road in one of those gated communities about 6 years ago.
I hosted a drinking party at my parent's house when I was over 21. It was a party to make a traditional Christmas drink from Germany, similar to mulled wine. My best friend and his family's exchange student were invited, but they were both under 21. I discussed this with my parents and they made it clear to me that they did not want to be held liable for the possibility that my friend could be pulled over by police and questioned as to the origin of the alcohol in his system. So I did the responsible thing and talked to my friend's mother and told her what was going on: that there will be alcohol, etc. We arranged for the parents to pick up my friend and the exchange student when the party was over. The exchange student was nervous about being in the US and drinking underage, even though she could do that in her home country, and ended up not partaking in the drinking. The point is: we were setting an example to my underage friend and the exchange student on how to drink responsibly. Which is something I think parents should consider doing.
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:10 pm
To unknown, a resident of San Ramon, 17 hours ago... "Laurel's only miscalculation in this whole horrid incicdent is that she had a friend who was an irresponsible selfish drunk..."
Please consider that Laurel was either sober which means she had to know she was choosing to get into the car with her drunk friend...or she was also under the influence which doesn't dismiss her participation in this horrible tradegy. If she was merely sober and making life threatening choices...I pray that other young girls and guys learn how to gain the confidence to put their foot down and say no participating in the joy ride by getting in the car.
May we all become stronger and begin making stronger choices.
Posted by Young Male, a resident of the Foothill Place neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:17 pm
How can you say that if she was drinking then she is not dismissed of this tragedy. Maybe she had been drinking and asked Katie if she was ok to drive because she knew she wasn't. Maybe her vision was clouded you don't know. at the end of the day Laurel didn't drive Katie did. By the way anyone that is willing to assault a police officer must feel they are above the law anyway
Posted by unknown, a resident of San Ramon, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:18 pm
Great comment by Young Male,
I think what people keep forgetting is the innocent woman driving on Foothill Rd. at 10:00 a.m. If she had died would we still have trouble blaming Katie? I think not. Laurel just happened to be a passenger in a drunk driver's car and poor Nancy was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It easily could have been two people that were killed that morning not just one.
Posted by Wondering.., a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:18 pm
When exactly is the Pleasanton Weekly going to put a cap on this comments page...? It is not only getting repetitive, but people are starting to hate on here....lets just not forget about it in 6 months, that would be the REAL tragedy.
Posted by kathy, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:32 pm
I agree with Mac.
Laurel was as responsible for her actions. If the only outcome of this accident was that all 3 parties were only injured. Then both girls would have been blame by everyone here. And, only Katie would have been punished by law.
You all keep on saying how inicent Laurel was. But, lets be fair about that also.
She should have been smart enough not to befriend Katie, if she was bad for her.
Don't get me wrong my heart goes to everyone involved. But.we all pay for the decisions we make in our lives. Laurel paid with her life and Katie should pay with a life of guilt.
Posted by friends, a resident of the Carriage Gardens neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:32 pm
To San Ramon:
Shouldn't you be a church talking to a priest! All's we hear from you is hate, hate, hate,! Open your eyes! Laurel was at the event the first time Katie got arrested! She was drinking too! Yes she was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!She was at lot's of other parties too! She is not innocent in all of this! Saying, blame it all on Katie! (Is wrong)
Wearing t shirts at court trying to get the judge to put Katie in jail for ever is wrong too! wear them for the right reason! Wear them to remind the world of what can happen and try to make a differance!
Posted by WHATEVER, a resident of another community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:37 pm
As I said in my previous post, the rumors that we as Laurel's family hear while talking about the case are so insane, we can't make heads or tails of this situation. For example.. We hear that the individual that dropped the girls off at the car, picked Laurel, who at the time was asleep (passed out) whatever you want to call it, picked her up, without her consent, and STUCK HER INTO THE CAR WHERE HER FRIEND KATIE CONTINUED TO DRIVE DRUNK!!!! now tell me how you would feel, if you knew that your loved one did not even have the slighteset idea that she got into this car......
and for "me" Laurel's mom did everything she could to keep them apart.. But as a 19 year old ADULT, who attended college and had a job, Laurel needed to make her own choices in life. She obviously made a wrong one... (portion of comment removed by PW staff) Don't preach about setting standards when you don't know the parents... Why do you think we are so angry with this situation, we know mistakes were made, by both parties,we are so hurt and angry with Katie's actions, but we are also hurt by Laurel's, she did know what kind of person her friend was, and she made the ultimate sacrafice to hang out with her.. Lets get real here, teenagers drink and drive, this story is no different, it just has a little bit of a twist to it. Katie has a record of being drunk in public so there is back lash.
Posted by friend, a resident of the California Somerset neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:41 pm
your comment about the attorney making comments about Laurels drinking! What have you been doing? Bashing Katie and it is okay? Please!!!!!!! In court they are to have a trial and it is about all the facts! If Laurel was drunk, let it be told! It is being told about Katie and even lies added in! We all know who is doing that! Don't worry, We have a court system for a reason! Katies attorney is there to fight for her! We are all intitled to be represented and yes even her!
Posted by Young Male, a resident of the Foothill Place neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:43 pm
Assuming you are correct that Laurel was drinking at all of these events then she is guilty of under aged drinking probably just like you and all of your friends or their friends. The difference is that Katie makes bad decisions and shows no remorse for her actions. She was arrested for assualt on a police officer. After that event she promised to never drink again. Looks like she forgot about that promiss. What about posting pictures of drinking in a car on her my space page. I guess she didn't learn from the first issue. If you really are/were her friend you should have stepped in and helped. You must have known she was out of control. Were you at the party. Do you know who drove her to her car. Why didn't someone stop her!!!!!!!!
I saw Katie at Laurels viewing and I saw her at the court house. It is crazy how I haven't seen a teer come from her eyes.
I really hope she does not try to plead not guilty in court. If she does all of you supporters are going to look silly.
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:44 pm
Forgiveness Heals - I, too, have referred to Joel Davis's story before and I must share this. That forgiveness is amazing and overwhelming and a great example.
However, the fact that the driver of the car was speeding at a rate that falls into "Reckless Driving" and never charged was quite disturbing to many parents and families. Just like this case, there were those who felt that the guilt the driver experienced was punishment enough. Unfortunately, this set a horrible example for our kids, once again showing that not everyone is going to be held responsible or accountable for their actions (in this case,the speeding that caused the accident and then death of a dear friend).
Can we offer forgiveness and still expect accountability for one's actions? I sure hope so.
I'm proud of Joel's mom and have prayed for her every single season of this past year. I'm also one of dozens of parents who is discouraged by the police department for not pressing reckless driving manslaughter charges... much less reckless driving or reckless endangerment charges. Are our streets safe from him? Has this driver learned from his accident? I wouldn't know...last I heard (from one of the close friends) he still points the finger to another person in the car.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:47 pm
No trial for Katie, she will plead out. If this was her first offense, the sentence would have been a year or two. But the other arrest for under the influence and assault will have her doing close to the max.
Two kids (yes, I still say kids) making the same poor choice that kids around this country make everyday. No role models in Katie's life, just enablers, friends, family and the adults around her, all enablers...shame on you. (portion removed by PW staff) It would be sad if she was looking for some help and couldn't depend on the so called responsible adults around her to help her grow into a young women. And what's with all the teen drinking in Pleasanton, we are new to the area, I have a kid at Foothill, even he says it's out of control, says, the only thing students talk about are getting drunk on the weekend and having drunk sex. Thank God I have all sons, it would all be too much if we had daughters.
Posted by person, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:51 pm
Don't tell me what kind of person Katie is or her family because I know who she is better the all of you! She is my cousin I and grew up with her from birth! You oviouslly don't know her at all! Laurel was at the same party at the first event! Was she drinking? Tell the truth!
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:51 pm
Young Male, I do not mean to disparage Laurel. I am trying to say that choosing to drink and know that your judgement will be impaired does not dismiss you from making poor choices. My own daughter made a rotten decision to become drunk recently and called for a ride home in the middle of the night. She 'knew' she couldn't trust the available drivers and risked our disdain and punishment over getting in a car where she could not trust her judgement of the other person. We were so bloody thankful that we'd drilled that message into her head. We were also quite angry at the situation she got herself into and there were consequences.
We all need to know that when we drink, we lose our judgement and put ourselves and others at risk. That's the number one rule. We must hold ourselves accountable for our choices. I'm not sure...but does that make sense?
Posted by WHATEVER, a resident of another community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:57 pm
We are not saying that Laurel did not drink, we as Laurel's cousins and friends, knew she drank, and was at that party doing so.
But as Katie's cousin where were you knowing about all these offenses and her need help the first time she had a drinking offense?? (portion of comment removed by PW staff) Nevertheless, Laurel was drinking, we are not saying she was not. We just think that family should have had a huge part in assisting Katie with her issues, do not pawn her off to neighbors
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 3:59 pm
While I don't put Laurel at fault...saying she "just happened to be a passenger in a drunk driver's car" will benefit no one. Making someone a complete 'victim' in a case like this offers others the same opportunity to eradicate their own knowledge and intentions in any situation. She had to know Katie was drinking and I think you do Laurel a disservice by showing her as so unknowing and incapable.
I'd hope she was aware of her friends and surroundings and simply made a poor and horrible choice.
Posted by WHATEVER, a resident of another community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 4:02 pm
I agree, we knew she was drinking, I am just saying we hear all these rumors, and it sucks to know that she could have either been passed out and had no idea she was moved from car to car. Or that she was fully aware, and made a bad choice, either way, we do not excuse the fact that there was drinking.
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 4:10 pm
One last comment and then I'll shush up. I want you to know that I can relate to the peer pressure that might have been felt by Laurel to go with the flow and not make a scene about the driver. When my daughter made the decision to call...she was spurned by her friends at the party, like a flake who couldn't handle the situation. I was shocked at their reaction. That sort of attitude did not come from her siblings and their friends in prior situations and I hope it is not an indication of attitudes to come.
We gotta get these kids to care more about one another and rotate taking charge of each other. No attitudes necessary.
Posted by neighbor, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 4:24 pm
ok some of you people are making me really angry to be honest. and its mainly the parents who are saying she deserves this. ive been friends with katie for 15 yrs and i knew laurel as well. i saw katie change by who she was hanging out with and we stopped talking because i am not a huge party person. but what you parents need to understand is that laurel was drinking too, even sophomores at foothill know that katie and laurel were "famous" for it, and for you all to be bashing on katie isnt right. yes she made a mistake, obviously it was stupid but shes already being punished a lot by the fact that she KILLED her best friend! and she will have to rememeber that the rest of her life!
so for you parents who are bashing i wonder what your kids are doing hmm. you think they are all good well i bet i know a lot of things about your kids and what they do so dont underestimate, laurels parents had no clue about this 2nd life of hers and im sure you dont or will not know about your kids either. im so frustrated with these posts and im sure other friends of katies and laurels know.
i just dont know what to say, yes it was stupid but i mean shes gonna get what she needs to get she obviously has a problem. i grew up with her and i never thought she would turn out like this. it has affected my family a lot as well. but for pleasanton weekly and for all of you making her seem like a horrible demon child thats f'ed up.
anyways. point being. laurel was drinking too, they were both stupid.
RIP laurel and
good luck to katie because she knows she always has me to talk to if need be.
Posted by Amber, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 4:39 pm
People deal with all kinds of stresses in different ways. Screaming, crying, hitting, etc. So to say that someone wasn't sorry by not showing any remorse or tears, isn't fair. Can you imagine how she felt?! Can you? I can't. I never want to.
Everyone seems to be speaking out of hurt, anger, frustration, sadness, etc. And what I see is that forgiveness should be in the future. It's the only way for everyone to come together. To educate others and to hopefully start the chain reaction of things like this not happen. The open the lines between parents and children, children to their friends, etc.
The more and more that comes out of this case, the more it's going to hurt.
Posted by the truth, a resident of the Bridle Creek neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 4:41 pm
"your comment about the attorney making comments about Laurels drinking! What have you been doing? Bashing Katie and it is okay? Please!!!!!!! In court they are to have a trial and it is about all the facts! If Laurel was drunk, let it be told! It is being told about Katie and even lies added in! We all know who is doing that! Don't worry, We have a court system for a reason! Katies attorney is there to fight for her! We are all intitled to be represented and yes even her! "
i am not saying katie doesn't deserve her day or in court or that she doesn't deserve competent representation. i'm just saying that all this "best friends" and "katie's family is mourning for laurel" BS will be exposed in court when her attorney starts to tear down laurel to save katie's skin.
Posted by WHATEVER, a resident of another community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 4:57 pm
We are not saying that Laurel did not drink, we as Laurel's cousins and friends, knew she drank, and was at that party doing so.
But as Katie's cousin where were you knowing about all these offenses and her needing help the first time she had a drinking offense?? Nevertheless, Laurel was drinking, we are not saying she was not. We just think that family should have had a huge part in assisting Katie with her issues, do not pawn her off to neighbors
Posted by friends of laurels, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 5:18 pm
For those of you thinking that katie doesnt deserve this is absurd! katie has already had two drunk in public violations and had a court date already set for november 15 for atempted assault on an officer in june of this year. according to the judge who stated at her hearing that katie should not be released because she is a threat on the community. The judge also quoted katie as saying to the officers "cops are b******!" during her arrest in june. She also verbally attacked laurels mom there (and before any of you say anything, yes i was there and saw it with my own eyes. i was even in court.) its easy to support katie anonymously on this with all of your comments. the real supporters are the people that have been there for laurels family and her through out all of this. I was one of the people wearing the t-shirts for laurel at the hearing and that is not ABSURD! its love for her and her family. and to the person who said "Not one person said a word to her at the viewing or at court! You can't judge her because you didn't see her tears! Everyone deals with things differently!" if you had a heart you would cry if you killed your supposid "best friend". laurels dad did talk to katie at the viewing and she even went to the front where they had an open casket and didnt shed one tear. also to the person that said "Wearing t shirts at court trying to get the judge to put Katie in jail for ever is wrong too! wear them for the right reason! Wear them to remind the world of what can happen and try to make a differance!" what the heck do you think those t-shirts are going to make the judge change his mind? he knows the facts and they all say that katie is guilty. so us wearing our t shirts is in rememberance of laurel and support of her family.
To those of you who are defending katie... think about how you would feel if she killed your son/daughter, friend, or family? i garauntee you wouldnt feel the same way you do now and the only reason you feel this way is because it doesnt personally involve you.
and how dare all of you discount laurels life. stop making katie the victim. at least her parents can still talk to her and hug her and kiss her and watch her grow up and learn from her mistakes. Laurels family and friends can't.
Posted by unknown, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 5:26 pm
to all of katies family who posted comments... ignorance breeds ignorance.. no wonder katie turned out the way she did.
i highly doubt that any of you who posted comments in support of katie would speak those words to laurels parents because deep down you know that katie was wrong. katie was driving not laurel and thats what you have to remember.
Posted by **, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 5:29 pm
I also was with Katie at the casket and she began to feel the feeling of her friends death (with tears and sadness)but quickly realized she was not wanted there and needed to leave. People do express feelings differently and that was told to us from a professional counselor. She also suffered a head trauma and things have not all processed completely.
I have a question where "friends of laurels" said "she verbally attacked laurels mom" what was that about?
Posted by Annonymous, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 5:39 pm
She partied with the people she lived with.....Nanny, ...I guess you can call being a live in babysitter/party when I want to with no restrictions is a great babysitter.....NOT....She was known to be a drinker, I'm sure her mom would have pulled her out of that other home if she only knew what the people she lived with let her do. She bragged a lot more than she should have...
Posted by There it is, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 5:45 pm
There it is...finally, Annonymous said it and its 100% true. Anyone who knew Katie's "Nanny" situation also knew that memebers of the family were some of her best drinking buddies. They new Katie was having a tough time at home and they did the worst possible thing for her.
Posted by Deanna, a resident of another community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 5:48 pm
To the posting by "friends of Laurels"...
It saddens me deeply to see such hatred directed towards so many people in the aftermath of such a devastating tragedy. Everyone is entitled to their grief and disappointment...Katie's family included.
It goes without saying that there is a terrible problem in this area with underage drinking. In situations as such, there are many factors involved beside the one who drove drunk. I give you all this.
However, please remember that Katie has family other than her parents. She is a grand-daughter, neice, and cousin as well as a daughter. They all deserve to grieve Laurel's passing as well. Their relation to Katie does not make it any less significant. But also note that there is a passing with Katie so to speak as well. They still love her, but do you believe they don't feel burden and sadness when they hug and kiss her? Their relationships are forever changed as well.
The only chance for good to come of this is for Katie's family to hold her accountable...but to still love her and help her through the many serious challenges that lie ahead. Pointing fingers into the past is not going to give us a different reality today. Only good can come of this when people choose to look forward instead.
Katie will receive the rehabilitation through the penal system as deemed necessary. Let's all hope that the young woman who emerges from all of this years from now will be an asset to your community rather than a threat. Further, experience is subjective. How each of us react and grieve is personal and should not be open to criticism. Some cry privately. Some are so filled with incredible shame that it over-powers the need to cry publicly. Perhaps this is the case with Katie?
Try to find the alternative to the negative condemnations on Katie and focus on the positive attributes Laurel's life made to those who love her. With this, you may find peace and acceptance and then move towards positive memorials of Laurel's life.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 6:06 pm
To those of you who keep arguing emotionally regarding Laurel and Katie and who is responsible for what, I believe in the eyes of the law drivers are to be held responsible for the lives of all passengers in their vehicles. This is why Katie is being charged with gross vehicular manslaughter. The one exception I can think of is the seat belt law where passengers over 16 are given tickets instead of the driver.
So realistically Katie shall be held accountable for her failure of such responsibility and it doesn't matter to the judge if Laurel was drunk or not. Certainly Laurel was responsible for her drunk condition and other actions which lead her to be in the tragic situation, but the bottom line is that she wasn't driving.
Posted by Young man, a resident of the Foothill Place neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 7:35 pm
Dude- There you go again. As I stated hours ago you keep trying to divert this to laurel. You are the type of person that enables someone like Katie. You are always trying to find blame on someone else when it is your issue. You must have been a close friend to Katie. Surrounded by people like you is probably the reason she got so bad without getting any help.......
Posted by Young man, a resident of the Foothill Place neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 8:02 pm
As I stated earlier, go back and read everything you have written. all of your comments redirect toward Laurel. With your limited knowledge of either girl it is crazy how oppinionated you are about the situation.
Posted by Young man, a resident of the Foothill Place neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 8:07 pm
No-Name Mom- My issue with Dude is that he wants to keep dragging laurels "lack of responsibility" as a reason for this horrible situation. The reason this happened is Katie was out of control and no one was there to stop her. Read this list and see how her own friends tell you that she was out of control. See how they tell you that she moved out cause her parents couldn't deal with her. See how she assaulted a police officer. See how she had pictures of her drinking in a car on her my space page all proud of her actions.
Your a mom.....is this acceptable??? No it's not!!!!! So why are we redirecting back to Laurel. She may have had her issues. this is not about her issues. This is about the actions of a sad out of control young girl that never learned her lesson!!!
Posted by Young man, a resident of the Foothill Place neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 8:18 pm
I don't place one once of blame on Laurel for her death. And if you do youhave something wrong with you!!!!! Katie had much greater issues than lack of judgement. pay attention to everything she has done. Something is clouding your vision. It wasn't just a lack of judgement. Laurels issue was her lack of judgement that Katie should be her friend!!!!!!!!
I hope you are following the case with all of the details beacause you sure seem to have a strong opinion!!!!!!
Posted by Just read, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 8:22 pm
From the Contra Costa Times website:
Man arrested on suspicion of furinishing alcohol in fatal crash
By Malaika Fraley
Article Launched: 11/12/2007 06:37:01 PM PST
PLEASANTON -- Police today arrested a 21-year-old Brentwood man on suspicion of supplying the alcohol that a underage woman consumed prior to a car accident that claimed her friend's life.
Police say Pleasanton residents Laurel Williams, 19, and Katie Amanda McKewon, 19, were among the guests of an all-night party that started on Oct. 19 and was fueled by alcohol purchased and supplied by Paul Stonebarger.
At 10 a.m. on Oct. 20, McKewon was the driver -- and Williams the passenger -- in a Ford Mustang that crossed over the double yellow line on Foothill Road and collided head-on with a Mercedes SUV, according to police.
Williams died; the SUV driver, 70-year-old Nancy Bressem, was seriously injured, and McKewon was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter and felony drunk driving.
Police said McKewon had a blood alcohol level three times over the legal limit, but it is illegal for minors to have any alcohol in their system while driving.
Police said Stonebarger, a current Chico resident and former Chico State student, is being charged with providing McKewon with the alcohol that led to the fatal accident. He was booked into Santa Rita Jail today. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to a year in Alameda County jail.
Posted by Dude, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 8:41 pm
This will be my last comment. I don't appreciate the attacks on me.
But Katie had these problems, as has been mentioned, and Laurel still made the decision to not only hang out with her, but also drink with her. Laurel made this decision without arranging a safe plan home. She made the decision to get in the car Katie.
I'm sorry, but I think these are some irresponsible choices on Laurel's part.
If you think I'm deferring the blame off of Katie by saying this, than you've obviously misread what I've had to say. Katie is fully responsible for her irresponsible actions.
Posted by Get a clue, a resident of another community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 8:47 pm
I don't place one once of blame on Laurel for her death. And if you do you have something wrong with you!!!!!
Whomever you are that made the above statement. You have got to be kidding? Unless Laurel was forced to consume whatever she drank or ate that night that impeaded her judgement to the point that she got in the car that morning, she _is_ culpable. It is still a tragedy that the situation occured and nothing can change it, but make no mistake she owns some responsibility for getting in the car regardless of how it may have happened. My heart goes out to all directly affected by this awful sitution.
Posted by Samuel, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 8:49 pm
I'm wary of adding fuel to the fire, so I'll just say this and then I'll say no more: If Laurel is "partly responsible" because she chose to get into the car with Katie, then would Laurel have been responsible if she had refused to get into the car and Katie had gone on to kill somebody that Saturday? What was Laurel supposed to do, wrestle Katie to the ground and knock the car keys from her hand? Katie was Laurel's friend.
This whole "Laurel has some responsibility, too" nonsense is just that--nonsense. The responsibility for this accident, in descending order from most to least responsible, is:
1. Katie McKewon, who drove with a blood alcohol level of .24, three times the legal limit.
2. Paul Stonebarger and anybody else who supplied alcohol to minors.
(That's assuming that the police have their facts straight and that the evidence is as it appears. Both Ms. KcKewon and Mr. Stonebarger are innocent until proven guilty.)
That's it. I have no emotional involvement in this case one way or the other, so perhaps I'm able to see this more clearly than those who were close to either or both Katie and Laurel, but the primary responsibility for this fatal accident was Katie's and secondary responsibility appears to fall on Mr. Stonebarger.
I have noticed that almost everybody has talked past the issue of widespread adult and teen drinking in Pleasanton, and especially the issue of parents supplying alcohols to their underaged children and friends. It's Pleasanton's dirty little not-so-secret secret, and it's costing us people's lives and futures. But nobody wants to look at that; it's far easier to focus on Katie McKewon and then, as one commentator here predicted, everybody will forget about the case and it's on to the next tragedy.
Ok, I'm done. The Pleasanton community seems bound and determined to repeat this tragedy. Nothing is going to be done to widen that blind curve on Foothill Road where the accident occurred. Nobody is going to pressure the Pleasanton Police Department into running more frequent traffic patrol on Foothill Road, even after so many fatal accidents have happened there. Nobody is going to push to shame parents into NOT hosting drinking parties for their teens. Nobody's going to do a thing to prevent another tragedy like this one from happening again.
And so we go on to the next tragedy, and the cycle will repeat. As Douglas Adams once wrote, "You live and you learn. At any rate, you live."
Posted by Annonymous, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 9:16 pm
Thank God she has Walker, he WILL make sure Katie gets the time she deserves.....He stated in court that the mother should have intervened much sooner since Katie had a prior of assaulting an officer and being drunk under age...It did not help that the people she lived with allowed her and contributed to her drinking as well. That was not the kind of intervention that Katie needed. (portion of comment removed by PW staff)
Posted by Somebody, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 9:20 pm
Why do you have to be so impolite? Everyone has an opinion and it should be respected whether it different than yours or not. I noticed that the Dude guy has been very potlite in his responses to you. Lets not be so bitter.
A few things you said were absolutely true. But, If you say Katie is more responsible than the guy who provided the drinks, then you should place Laurel right along Katie as far as the responsibility goes.
Again, if she was not drunk she would not have gotten in her friend's car and she would have been alive now.
I think the person most responsible for Laurel's death is the guy.
(But, then again was I doubt he poured the drink down her throat.)
And, Katie should fully be responsible for the lady's injuries.
Posted by tiffany, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 9:52 pm
I would really like to know if Laurel was passed out/asleep when taken to Katie's car. (Why else would she let Katie drive in her condition if she wasn't worse off herself?)
And if that was the case, that she was not conscious, that someone put her in Katie's car, is there an addition element of a crime taking place? What if she didn't willingly get into the car with Katie? Who is responsible then, just Katie, or the person who brought her there and put her in the car?
Does anyone know if this would be considered a crime, or at least a liability?
My heart goes out to the families of both girls. Sadly, I think this could have happened to many of us or our children at some point. Hopefully kids in Pleasanton will learn from this tragic situation and make better choices for themselves.
Posted by friend, a resident of another community, on Nov 12, 2007 at 10:37 pm
Imagine that "Stoney" wasn't that his name on Laurel's myspace page. Her boyfriend right? HHHHHmmm looks like Katie wasn't the only bad influence in Laurel's life. Maybe now all those who say how sweet and innocent she was will realize she had the same "issues" as Katie and see that maybe Katie was sweet and innocent too, just made a really bad mistake that day.
I think it is funny how you speak of Katie's myspace pictures. Let's back up to 10/20 and remember the DRUNK pictures of Laurel. For gosh sakes her profile picture was her drunk butt in the bathtub.
THEY BOTH HAD A DRINKING PROBLEM. THEY WERE BOTH OVER 18 BUT UNDER 21. THEY WERE NOT THE RESPONSIBLITY OF THIER PARENTS THAT YOU ALL LOOK SO QUICKLY TO JUDGE. BUT WE ALL KNOW IF "STONEY" HAD NOT PROVIDED THE ALCOHOL THAT NIGHT WE WOULD NOT BE ON THIS PAGE WRITING STUFF ABOUT THIS ACCIDENT.
Many people have drinking and or drug problems. Just because people see you doing these things does it mean that you can force them to get help???? Nope... It has to be THIER decision so get off Katie's family.
Where Katie lived and what she did for a living really has nothing to do with any of this. When I was 19 I did not like my parents rules either. I too moved out and lived where I was allowed to do whatever I wanted. Luckily I did not have this same horrific type of accident happen to me, but again it was LUCKILY. Most 19 year olds have a mind of thier own and choose to use it. Like most of us did when we were young.
Katie's family is well aware that what Katie did was wrong and that she does deserve to spend her time in jail. I don't think they have complained about any of those comments, the ones that are a problem are the mean and hurtful ones and the blame being on Katie only. There are SEVERAL people to put blame on. The "friends" who claim that Katie was an accident waiting to happen or who can't believe this did not happen sooner - where were you in the line of people trying to HELP Katie? Then we could talk about all the "friends" who partied with her all the time. The people at the party that night, the one who drove them to the car, the one who provided the alcohol, the list could go on for days. SO MANY PEOPLE ARE RESPONSIBLE IN SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS.
And the alcohol charge from Laurel's birthday that everyone talks about...... HHHmmm you think Katie was the only one drinking??? Nope.... And maybe you should find out the whole story behind that arrest since you people have made your own story of it.
I looked at Laurel's myspace page right after the accident. It was riddled with comments about partying and drinking, and pictures of the same. It is amazing how that stuff was all changed right after the first comment of these girls myspace pages. Don't let anyone fool you - NEITHER of these girls were innocent.
I hope Laurel's family will be able to go on. I don't know how they will. It is a horrible situation that I would never want to have to experience. I think that all of this is certainly not going to help. Maybe the Pleasanton weekly will put everyone out of this misery and stop the comments going forward. This is not healthy for anyone.
Katie is in jail where she will stay until her time is up. Hopefully when she gets out she will do something with her life that leads her in a different direction but only time will tell. Again she is responsible for her actions and is paying the consiquences of them.
For the families of both girls.... LEAVE THEM ALONE
Anyone with kids knows that you can teach them right from wrong but you can't force them to exercise it. You can tell them who not to hang around but you can't control it. You can tell them not to drink underage but you are not always there to watch them. You can tell them you are always there for them anytime day or night but you can't make them call you. Those who think thier kids are perfect little angels and listen to what you tell them - wake up.
Now lets take the focus off these girls for a while and focus on "Stoney" the 21 year old ADULT who provided the alcohol to minors causing them to make a bad decision which resulted in this ACCIDENT. And before you say that this was not the only time they drank, well that is like saying - Laurel could have been the driver but she wasn't Katie was - just so happens he had the bad luck of being the provider and Katie had the bad luck of being the driver.
Posted by mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2007 at 11:59 pm
"BUT WE ALL KNOW IF "STONEY" HAD NOT PROVIDED THE ALCOHOL THAT NIGHT WE WOULD NOT BE ON THIS PAGE WRITING STUFF ABOUT THIS ACCIDENT."
What an unbelievably naive statement that is. If "Stoney" didn't provide the alcohol then a myriad of other people would have. When a teen wants to drink there are many many ppl out there that are readily able and willing to provide it.
Yes, this person is going to be held to account...but DON'T KID YOURSELF THAT HE IS THE REASON BEHIND THE ACCIDENT.
Posted by Deanna, a resident of another community, on Nov 13, 2007 at 5:01 am
Everyone has an opinion and there is certainly enough bouncing around this blog. It concerns me, and I'm sure others, just how angry and critical some have become in writing. Words are permanent. They represent "who" you are. I contributed to this page because my friend is an aunt to Katie and she expressed how devastating it is to see so much hatred and misguided anger towards such a complicated and convoluted tragedy. She is right and I'm equally shocked with the amount of finger pointing and toxicity that exists here.
It serves no positive purpose to Laurel's memory to beleager others for their coping strategies as well as each person's right and ability to rationalize the situation with objectivity. Laurel did not deserve to die. No one has ever stated this on this blog, yet the emotional reactions are fueling intentional insults towards people who are sharing their thoughts and feelings here. Unfortunately, to attack others and demonstrate so much hostility takes the wind out of your sails and those who do have objectivity here see a lack of credibity to those who are acting as such.
I see a lot of pain in you two and perhaps a few others. I pray you all find some peace and realize that hurling poison arrows at others will not bring you comfort, rather it will continue to feed the ugliness and nastiness. I'm sure Laurel would want better for you and would rather your energy be put towards positive healing and understanding instead. Please find a way to express yourselves with understanding and compassion for others as well. Respect should be commanded, not demanded by your judgements. With this said, I truly hope you can understand what this mom of 5 is saying. This community problem with adults contibuting alcohol to underage adults is not going unnoticed. What is done now is done. The clock cannot be turned back, but you all can take responsibity now as members of your community to say "heck no!" not anymore in my community. Take POSITIVE steps in Laurel's memory to save the next possible victim to this on-going problem. Perhaps you really didn't mean to be so critical and harsh. Others would certainly respect this recognition on your part. Anger, bitterness, harshness, condemning...all this is toxic. It hurts those around you, but mostly it hurts you.
Wishing for a better day for you all and a speedy recovery from your loss and pain.
Posted by Forgiveness Heals, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 13, 2007 at 8:24 am
Unfortunately life in itself will never satisfy everyone... there always will be someone on the other side of the fence. No reason to keep arguing about it what is done is done. I know the young driver myself, he is thriving in school and your comment of he points the finger at someone else... that may be true but sometimes we need to understand it is a tactic for some to accept themselves for the wrong doing, it is very hard to accept the fact that you contributed to the death of another human being, especially one who was a dear friend. We need to understand this,live with it and support those involved without passing judgement.
As for Katie and Laurel, punishment will be passed down on Katie, Laurel has been punished yet saved from all of this, she is with the Lord and he is consoling her.
I am sure Katie is facing a lot of hatred, the worst is herself, may she find help in dealing with this tragedy and hopefully the Williams family will come to forgive and help the memory or Laurel live on within her friend.
Posted by friend, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Nov 13, 2007 at 8:46 am
to forgiveness heals...
SHUT THE HELL UP!! GET OFF OF THIS! YOU ARE FULL OF CRAP WITH YOUR COMMENTS ABOUT FORGIVENESS.. GIVE ME A BREAK. IF THAT WAS YOUR CHILD KILLED YOU WOULDNT FEEL THIS WAY ESPECIALLY ONLY A FEW WEEKS AFTER THE ACCIDENT.
Posted by Jeb Bing, editor of the Pleasanton Weekly, on Nov 13, 2007 at 8:50 am Jeb Bing is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
We're intentionally giving topics pertaining to the 19-year-old driver arrested in a fatal Foothill Drive crash a rest because the postings have become repetitive and at times disrespectful and accusatory. We will be covering breaking news on this story both online and in our print edition, so there will be opportunities to post fresh thoughts and new information as these appear. The postings so far will remain online and readers may post new comments on their own by starting a new thread.
Posted by everyones to blame, a resident of another community, on Nov 13, 2007 at 9:07 am
What an unbelievably naive statement that is. If "Stoney" didn't provide the alcohol then a myriad of other people would have. When a teen wants to drink there are many many ppl out there that are readily able and willing to provide it.
Yes, this person is going to be held to account...but DON'T KID YOURSELF THAT HE IS THE REASON BEHIND THE ACCIDENT.
AND AGAIN..... IT COULD HAVE BEEN A DIFFERENT NIGHT AND SOMEONE ELSE COULD HAVE BEEN DRIVING. AS KATIE SITS TO BE JUDGED FOR THAT NIGHT SO DOES THE PERSON WHO PROVIDED THE ALOCHOL THAT NIGHT. EVERYONE WANTS TO SAY HOW LAUREL WAS NOT THE ONE DRIVING THAT NIGHT, BUT AGAIN SHE DROVE OTHER NIGHT - THAT JUST HAPPENED TO BE THE ONE THE CAUSED THIS HORRIFIC ACCIDENT. FUNNY HOW IT WORKS ISN'T IT, YOUR WORDS CAN COME BACK TO BITE YOU...