Delgadillo Under The Influence
It was with great sadness that I read Lauren Williams report in the Daily Pilot this morning, HERE, that told us that Costa Mesa police detective Mike Delgadillo had a blood alcohol level of 0.14 - nearly twice the legal limit - when he crashed his car into a pillar on Bristol Street the evening of March 5, 2013. An interesting bit of online editing placed Williams' story immediately adjacent to one about a program at Newport Harbor High School that was intended to make the kids aware of DUI accidents.
MORE PAIN FOR SURVIVORS
That accident that took his life was tragic enough, but this revelation rips the scab off this slow-healing wound and adds to the pain felt by his family, friends and co-workers. And, it's very likely that some will now use this news to denigrate this man, who placed his life on the line for the residents of our community for 32 years.
And, of course, there is a tragic irony to this news, too. Delgadillo's compatriots on the CMPD have been leaders in apprehending drivers for DUI, with several officers totalling more than 100 such arrests for several years running and Officer Kha Bao leading the pack with more than 400 such arrests two years ago and 200 last year.
LOOKING FOR A SILVER LINING
Some will look for a silver lining to this tragic event - some kind of life lesson that can be learned from the passing of this man and the circumstances that took his life. Others may choose to attempt to dig deeper for some "good reason" for this event, including pillorying the establishment or establishments where he was drinking before his death, in an attempt to spread the blame.
SHOULD WE HAVE DONE MORE?
Others may try to look back and criticize themselves for not recognizing the circumstances that caused Delgadillo to drink and drive and for not doing more to help him.
None of that changes the facts. A distinguished officer, a man who served our community with honor for more than three decades, used bad judgment the last night of his life and died as a result. We continue to offer our condolences to his family and to his co-workers at the CMPD on the loss of this fine man.