The Los Angeles County coroner has identified a Palmdale teen who authorities said was killed when a suspected drunk driver crashed into her home and hit her while she slept.
Giselle Mendoza, 16, was pronounced dead at her home early Sunday after Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies said Roberto Rodriguez, 20, crashed his SUV into a Palmdale apartment building.
Mendoza was sleeping in her first-floor bedroom when a 2007 Nissan Pathfinder slammed into the complex in the 1000 block of East Avenue R before 4 a.m. Sunday, officials said.
Please let me be your Internet dad for a quick moment: at some point in your life (maybe at several points in your life) you will be confronted with the decision to drive after drinking or using recreational drugs. You may think, “it’s only a mile” or “I’ll be very careful” or “I probably shouldn’t drive, but I think I’ll be okay” or “I don’t have money for a cab”.
But here’s the thing about that: you may convince yourself that it’s okay to drive, and you may even get where you’re going safely. You may do that more than once, and start to think that you’re never going to have a problem if you drive while intoxicated (even a little bit).
But what if you don’t? What if you lose your focus or judgement for one second, and you end up hitting a person who’s crossing a dark street in front of you? What if you end up missing a light, and crashing into another car?
What will you do when you, an otherwise good person who would never intentionally hurt another person, make the decision to get behind the wheel when you shouldn’t, and you end up killing someone?
Just think about that for a moment, okay? If this kid, Robert Rodriguez, is found guilty, he’s likely going to spend most of his life in prison. He’s 20 years-old. He’s probably not a criminal, and he’s probably going to spend what should be the best years of his life in a prison, because he made the decision to drive while intoxicated.
Now think about the family of Giselle Mendoza. She was sixteen years-old. SIXTEEN. Her life hadn’t even started yet, and now she’s gone. Forever. Because a suspected drunk driver — just four years older than her — decided that he’d get behind the wheel of a car when he shouldn’t have.
Look, I get it: figuring out how to get home can be a hassle. Taxis and Uber are expensive, and public transit can be inconvenient.
But take a moment and think about Giselle Mendoza’s friends and family, and Robert Rodriguez’s friends and family, and ask yourself how much cab fare they think would have been too much.
Okay, thanks for listening and letting me be your Internet dad for a minute.