Madly terrified

I’ve told you guys this before, perhaps it was several years ago, but I’ve been pretty obsessive in my life when it comes to drugs.

By that I mean that for some reason, from my teens on, I have avoided drugs, excessive alcohol, and even cigarettes like they’re tainted with the frickin’ bubonic plague.

My family has no history of drug or alcohol abuse, so I don’t really know WHY I am the way I am. I bet there are Amish kids reading this on their illicit computers all, “OMG. WHAT A PILGRIM. Pass the jagermeister, Jedediah.”

I’ve never tried a drug that you can’t buy at Target. NyQuil is probably the strongest non-antibiotic med I’ve ever taken. Wait, there’s codeine cough medicine, so that’s special in an I’m so tired I can’t sleep kind of way. I’ve never put a cigarette to my lips (and to prove it’s not my upbringing that made me this way, some of my sisters have smoked before and/or drank at college before they were 21. Oh, my father is going to KILL THEM when he reads this, but not before they KILL ME for telling you this and RIP, Ginny. Remember what I want on my gravemarker, you guys.). My first alcoholic drink outside of my parents’ company was on my 21st birthday and now that I’ve written that I realize what a giant nerd I am.

But, whatever, my point is that I’ve watched enough Intervention on A&E to look at my seven-year-old son on occasion, and then grab him and hug him so hard that he’s all, “WOMAN! STEP OFF!”

Sure I go out with my sisters and get a bit toasted, and by a bit I mean boy am I glad we have a designated driver and it is not me, but I live in fear that drugs or alcohol will touch my family and hurt it, so much so that, and I swear I am NOT MAKING THIS UP, this conversation happened over dinner last night:

My husband, after cracking open a cold beer: I remember my first beer.

Me: “How old were you. Like ten? Ha-ha.”

Him: “Twelve.”

Me: “GASP! Our son is sitting right there! Don’t tell him this! [turning to my son] How old do you have to be to have alcohol?

Son: [Automatically] Twenty-one.

Me: And if you are seventeen and your friend says, ‘Have a beer,’ what will  you say?

Son: No.

Me: How old do you have to be to drive?

Son: Sixteen.

Me: And if you are fifteen and your friend says, ‘Hey, drive my car,’ you will say?

Son: No.

Me: And how old do you have to be to smoke a cigarette?

Son: [with a sigh, because he’s been through this with me a bunch of times] I’ll never smoke a cigarette, Mom.

Me: Because?

Son: They kill you dead.

The whole time, my husband is smiling, but probably rolling his eyes on the inside, because I sound bonkers. But you see that little glimpse into how I’m regularly drilling into my son the responsibility he needs to have to smoke, drink, whatever. I’m not an idiot. I know there’s a good chance the kid’ll have a drink or try a cigarette when he shouldn’t, but it won’t be for lack of me trying my hardest to make him think twice about it. And if he ever does something wrong, gets caught, and/or hurts other people, HELL WILL RAIN DOWN AND IT WILL BE LACED WITH THE BUBONIC PLAGUE.

[awkward kung fu moves]

So, knowing this about me, how very very naive and pilgrimy and quite possibly Amish in a previous life I am, you must know how incredibly annoyed I get when people act like marijuana is no big deal. I’m looking at YOU, Santonio Holmes.

So many people think smoking marijuana and getting behind the wheel of a car is fine. I mean, hey, it’s not like it’s alcohol, right? I’m not impaired; I’m just happy.

Wrong. SO SO WRONG.

Lisa Styles was the ideal mother, a woman who gathered up her three young kids for picnic lunches in the park and who built her life around them.

Late Monday morning, she had strapped her 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter into a double running stroller and gone for a run on Washington Road when an SUV struck her and the stroller, fatally injuring her and knocking the stroller sideways into the street.

Ms. Styles, 36, of Mt. Lebanon, was rushed to UPMC Mercy where she underwent surgery for a severe head injury. She was pronounced dead at 1:27 p.m. Tuesday at the hospital, according to the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office.

Mt. Lebanon police say the man behind the wheel of the 2003 Toyota 4Runner, 20-year-old Benjamin T. Cope, now faces charges of driving while impaired and driving while under the influence of a controlled substance. Police said they believe he was high on marijuana. Mr. Cope, of Mt. Lebanon, likely will face additional charges after police confer with the district attorney’s office, Lt. Lauth said.

And now I’m mad, and maybe my anger shouldn’t be projected to where it is, but I can’t help it.

I’m mad at Ben Cope for being high in the middle of the afternoon and blowing the stop sign. Selfish.

I’m mad he didn’t look right and see Lisa and her big, yellow, very easy to see double stroller.

I don’t know that it does, but if that Toyota 4Runner belongs to anyone other than Ben, like say, his parents, I’m going to be mad as hell at them for letting him drive it, considering his record:

Records indicate that Mr. Cope has paid $755 in fines to Mt. Lebanon, South Fayette and Pittsburgh since February 2006 for traffic violations, including speeding, disregarding a traffic control device and driving without a license.

If he still had a drivers license, I’m mad at whatever judge or government office allowed that.

I’m mad at whoever sold him the marijuana.

I’m mad at whoever, if anyone, allowed him to get behind the wheel in his condition.

I’m mad that it doesn’t matter how much you protect your children, sometimes, death comes for you instead and takes away your chance to continue to protect them.

Most of all, I’m mad that so many things, so many, could have prevented this tragedy, and not a one of them came through for Lisa.





44 Comments

  1. jessica
    June 30, 2010 11:50 am

    I agree with you 100%! Its so sad what happened to her! So unfortunate that it had to come to this but now hopefully this kid will be locked up for a long time!



  2. Cassie
    June 30, 2010 11:51 am

    First of all, your son sounds pretty much like my hero.

    Secondly, it is a terrible tragedy. Words really can’t express that. And it’s good that you’re mad. Most normal well balanced individuals would be. Those that aren’t are in a drug/alcohol induced state. There’s no reasoning this. He made a very poor decision. And it seems pretty obvious that a lot of his decisions were pretty poorly made.

    That said, may her family learn to find some sort of peace. I hope that Mr. Styles can learn to forgive Mr. Cope and raise his 3 children as Lisa would have.

    Such a tragedy.



  3. anonymous
    June 30, 2010 12:11 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. It is a shame. I pray for her family.



  4. TripleC
    June 30, 2010 12:15 pm

    Very sad. Time for little Bennie to pay the price and hopefully go away for a while. He’s certainly old enough to know his actions have consequences and unfortunately this time his carelessness and overall dumbassedness (I assume that’s actually a word around here) cost someone their life.

    Obviously the kid has a history of recklessness and his parents might possibly be deserving of a punch upside the head for letting their turd son even drive an automobile.

    Have fun in the slammer Bennie. Those guys are gonna love you (literally!).



  5. BeauJacques
    June 30, 2010 12:23 pm

    I am NOT excusing this kid in ANY way, but I truly and sincerely thank God that I never injured anybody while driving impaired or distracted.

    I did so in the past, I do not anymore, ever.

    This kid who killed the bicyclist cuz his sandals were tangled, the death on rt 22 last week, and how many accidents now are texting/ cell phone related??

    One split second is all it takes.

    Again, I thank God.

    I truly wish it didn’t take tragedies like this to remind us how fleeting life is.

    http://bloglebo.blogspot.com/2010/06/candlelight-vigil-in-honor-of-lisa.html

    WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30, 2010

    Candlelight Vigil In Honor Of Lisa Styles
    POSTED BY JOE POLK AT 10:45 AM /
    A candlelight vigil in honor of Lisa Styles is being planned for 7:30 PM this Thursday, July 1 at the intersection of Beadling and Washington Roads in Mt. Lebanon. There will be two minutes of silence at 7:45 PM.



  6. Mel
    June 30, 2010 12:24 pm

    This is just an awful tradegy and I pray everyday that I never lose my family and that they don’t lose me. I would think it ranks pretty high up there on everyone’s list of biggest fears.

    I’m praying for her family and pray God gives the father the strength to get through this and raise those girls.

    I’m also praying for the driver of the car. The 20 year old’s life is over and I realize he took a life so it should be over, but honestly no matter what the punishment is that he gets he will be living with this the rest of his life and so will his parents. Sadly I would say the majority of us have all made bad decisions in life which could have turned out very badly.

    It’s a horrible tradegy – may God be with all the families involved. Don’t forget to tell your family how much you love them!



  7. lovesthenorthside
    June 30, 2010 12:25 pm

    as the parent of a 19-year-old son who has been driving responsibly and well for two years, and the parent of a 17-year-old son who has to get his permit renewed because the world is not ready for him to be behind the wheel of a deadly instrument, i will tell you that one single traffic violation would be cause to take away their driving rights. our insurance payments, even taking into account driver’s ed and good grades, are already equal to some nation’s gross national product, so i can’t imagine what this child or his parents are paying.

    and ginny, as your son gets older, please find a way to let him know that SHOULD he try drinking, even though you have asked him to refrain, please do it in a safe and controlled environment. i don’t want to get blasted for saying that. i do not condone underage drinking, but i am a realist. along with giving my boys advice on how to make wise decisions (which include no drugs of any kind, ever!), i want them to remain wise, even when making a bad decision.

    end of parentblog, sorry.

    that said, this situation is so sad for everyone involved.



  8. BIGGEORGE
    June 30, 2010 12:30 pm

    They are producing MJ with higher levels of THC then existed in the 60’s. back then it was 3-4%, but know they are pushing 21-24%.

    If it was “like drinking a beer” back in the 60’s, it is now “like drinking 6-7 beers” there isn’t anybody that can drink 6-7 beers in the amount of time it takes to smoke a joint and not be affected by it.

    the main problem with alcohol and driving is the time it takes your pupils to dialate after getting flashed by a car headlight.

    The old “the pole/car/fire hydrant jumped right out in front of me”.

    you are blind when this happens!!!!! That is why you don’t see it or remember it!!

    (rant mode=off)

    BIGGEORGE



  9. mamabear
    June 30, 2010 12:32 pm

    Amen, sister. I am so pissed at that kid.



  10. MadMadMad
    June 30, 2010 12:35 pm

    There are bad decisions and then there are irreversibly horrifically bad decisions. Being able to say straight-faced that I have never driven impaired (even in my not so above-board college days), I have a hard time finding an ounce of empathy for the driver in this situation. Maybe it’s because I’m also a mid-30s mom of small kids, frequently seen lugging a jogger around my residential neighborhood on the weekends.

    It’s also not helped by the fact that I read that he was asked not to return to college for violating the school’s code of conduct policy related to drug use.

    Sources are saying that his mom is an anesthesiologist at UPMC, so I’m betting that’s where the shiny black SUV originated…….



  11. Monty
    June 30, 2010 12:44 pm

    I grew up in Mt. Lebanon, about 2 minutes from that corner. If the reports are correct about which streets they are, it’s not like missing a stop sign behind a tree or something. He was going from a cut-through road to the main drag in town — it’s two lanes each way — on a 90 degree turn. Anyone not out of their mind would have to stop regardless of whether there was a stop sign. That kid was completely lit up, there is no other possible explanation. It is beyond sad/pointless.



  12. LegallyPgh(Kathy)
    June 30, 2010 12:52 pm

    I think you will have the right to be mad at this parents. From what I know, he resides in the backyard…yes, I said the BACKYARD of his parents house. They certainly had an understanding of what he was doing regarding his recreational habits, or if they claim to not know, the only people they were kidding were themselves.

    The other person I am mad at is the local district magistrate, an ELECTED POSITION. He is the one who let this kid off with a warning and a small fine EVERYTIME. Why? Because the kid, and his parents, live in the same community where he needs to be elected. This is not unique to this particular magistrate, but a problem with the system of electing magistrates. Such a tragedy that could have been prevented.



  13. Jess
    June 30, 2010 12:57 pm

    Truly awful. I hate that those children will have to grow up without their mother. RIP, Lisa Styles.



  14. burghgal
    June 30, 2010 1:04 pm

    I lost my mom to cancer when I was 40 and I miss her more than you can imagine.

    I can’t imagine how those kids feel and growing up without their mother.

    My heart goes out to them.



  15. Dan (Not Onarato)
    June 30, 2010 1:10 pm

    My wife is around the age of Ms. Styles and our daughter will be turning 1 next month. They go running “together” almost daily. I cant fathom nor do I ever want to experience what that family is going through right now. My thoughts and prayers are with the Styles family right now.

    Now for the reality…I hate to say this but Im guessing the driver (Im refraining from calling him what he really is in my opinion) MAY do SOME jail time but I would be surprised if it would be more than 3-5 years and then he’ll need to enter a rehab facility or something of that nature to prove he’s sober etc.



  16. Bulldog
    June 30, 2010 1:20 pm

    You are right to be mad, and very smart to be “madly terrified”. Everyone SHOULD be mad. This is a horrible, horrible situation and one that was completely avoidable. Tragic beyond description.



  17. Sue
    June 30, 2010 1:32 pm

    I feel your anger. I lost a friend and her 5 yr. old son 13 years ago to a drunk driver. It was the driver’s third DUI, but with this third one he also was charged with 2 counts of vehicular homicide due to their deaths. She died instantly, her son held on for 6 days. Pure torture for her husband, 7 yr. old daughter (who was also in the car and escaped with minor physical injuries) and extended family. Their lives have never been the same. The drunk was actually out partying all afternoon because he had to send his license in the next day due to his 2nd DUI. He crossed the center line and hit her so hard his vehicle drove up over the driver’s side of hers. He was that drunk at 4:00 in the afternoon. He was given 7-14 years in jail. He was eligble for parole after 3 1/2 years, but was denied it until he finished serving his 9th year in jail. The judge said they couldn’t hold him any longer because of good behavior. He is back home now, driving, going to bars and drinking. I can’t say for sure if he is drinking then driving. What I can say is that I am still mad as hell. Did he learn nothing from his first 2 convictions? Did he learn nothing from his stay in jail? Maybe it’s just me, but if I killed two people after drinking too much, I think I wouldn’t be drinking anymore. Sorry, still mad!!!



  18. efw_west
    June 30, 2010 1:34 pm

    This is one time I disagree with the good ol’ USA style of justice and would side with a country like Saudi Arabia or Iran. If this would have happened over there, Mr Cope would already be hanging by his toenails in the middle of the town square.



  19. red pen mama
    June 30, 2010 1:34 pm

    Ah, how do you do that? I’m laughing out loud in my cube until I realize what you’re getting at, then I’m crying.

    It’s such a nightmare. My heart and prayers are with the husband and the three children.

    And while I acknowlege that the driver is completely and totally at fault here and that Ms. Styles died because of his terrible decision-making leading to that moment, a bit of my heart goes out to him too. Because I don’t know how you live knowing you killed someone.



  20. Cathy
    June 30, 2010 1:53 pm

    Ginny- Keep up the good work on your son… I have done the same with my now 18 year old daughter her whole life and we still make a joke about how many times I warned her about Sex, drugs and alcohol. But I keep telling her and as someone said earlier as he gets older tell him if he is going to experiment with anything don’t do something stupid like drive…. Anyway this is such a terrible tragedy – I pray for her family…



  21. Al Lambrini
    June 30, 2010 1:56 pm

    Very saddened and angered by this tragedy. Driving impaired is one of the most selfish and dangerous things people can do. That is a terrible intersection and see tons of people blow off that stop sign all the time . Last week a couple of blocks down from this corner some meathead in a cement truck sized dual axle pickup almost hit me and my 18 month old daughter in her stroller because he thought he had the right of way at a 4 way stop sign over pedestrians. Slow it down out there people and use crosswalks. And if yu are going to get high or why not give everybody a break and walk?



  22. Erin
    June 30, 2010 2:01 pm

    Sue,
    I am really shaken by your story. That is just awful. I feel so bad for these children, growing up without a mother.



  23. Dan-O
    June 30, 2010 2:28 pm

    Moral of this, and other sad Pittsburgh stories: Don’t name your kid BENJAMIN. It seems that no good comes from that name …



  24. gunnlino
    June 30, 2010 2:31 pm

    @ Cassie…… Mad as hell , Sad as could be without the loss being my family, but forgiving ? Never, not in a million years ! Not of him or his parents, they let him get like he is and knew of his behavior and let it go on. Where do you think the money came from to pay the traffic fines came from ? Does anybody with an ounce of life experience think this punk paid for that SUV himself.
    Forgiveness.. NOT



  25. J
    June 30, 2010 2:38 pm

    Very rarely does the news make me angry, but this story just pisses me off more than I can even explain. I am very similar to Ginny and I never drank before I was 21, I’ve never done drugs and I have never touched any type of tobacco. People look at me like I am crazy considering I am still in my mid 20’s and never “experienced” such things.

    I was mad when I heard the story initially; picturing some spoiled prick, driving around in mommy and daddy’s SUV and not paying attention. Now that the stories come out that he was DUI, I am even more infuriated.

    The worst part is, this assh0le won’t even pay a significant price for what he has done. He’ll be in jail for 5 years MAX, if he sees any jail time at all.

    He took a loving mother away from 3 children and I hope he never forgets that. I hope he thinks of it every time he closes his eyes. No punishment that the court could pass down would be enough for this selfish prick.



  26. A
    June 30, 2010 3:07 pm

    Seems to be a theme these days – 20-year-olds with multiple driving violations killing or nearly killing mothers due to their reckless driving. This other guy goes as far as to blame the victim’s son. Klassy.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10181/1069312-100.stm

    An angry mob is in order, I do believe.



  27. Cassie
    June 30, 2010 3:40 pm

    @gunnlino: The ONLY reason I’d say I’d hope the father could forgive is simply so he can move on. That little piece of garbage doesn’t deserve it. Not one bit. But if it’s the only way that Mr. Styles can move on, then do it.

    As a person who’s lost a friend to a car crash, I can totally relate. It took me nearly 10 years, but I finally forgave that other driver because he has to live with the fact EVERY DAMN DAY that he killed someone. That’s worse than any jail or conviction I can fathom.



  28. thatschurchisthebestblogever
    June 30, 2010 4:02 pm

    I agree with everything you’ve written.
    Being someone who has never used tobacco or drugs and has rarely even had any alcohol to drink, I absolutely do not understand anyone who abuses alcohol or uses drugs. Seriously, what is the point of getting drunk or high? Are you so unintelligent & boring that you can’t find any worthwhile, fun and/or interesting activities to pursue? It’s illegal and unhealthy and dangerously selfish to be indulging in drugs & overindulging in alcohol.
    I have little patience for parents who are too wimpy to speak out against dangerous activities in which their children, even those who are over 18, are engaging. And maybe this sounds harsh, but I don’t have much sympathy for any individual who harms him/herself when in an impaired state. Unfortunately, they usually live, but destroy the lives of their victims.
    Prayers for the Styles family!



  29. BeauJacques
    June 30, 2010 4:37 pm

    @Monty- #11-

    I too grew up 2 minutes from that intersection, my girlfriend lived on Seneca, I have been thru that intersection 100’s, if not 1000’s of times, and I never ran it, actually I never have “run” a stop sign, impaired or otherwise.

    I know EXACTLY what he did, he cruised up and was only looking to the left because you have a clear view of southbound traffic and he never looked to the right, never considered pedestrians, and never stopped.



  30. unsatisfied
    June 30, 2010 5:28 pm

    damn it.

    really.



  31. Still A, Fan
    June 30, 2010 6:52 pm

    i pity only the father and kids. i hope the driver and his parents for condoning his behavior rot in hell.

    have a nice day.



  32. Sexy Jesus
    June 30, 2010 8:07 pm

    The only lessons to take from this: (i) it should be much harder to get and maintain a driver’s license (especially for the elderly and repeat offenders); (ii) young, dumb Ben was a waste of space long before Monday; and (iii) Ben’s punishment will be woefully lacking when compared to the damage he has inflicted. RIP.



  33. Lisa J
    June 30, 2010 8:27 pm

    I lost 5 friends in four seperate accidents before my 14th birthday. Two of them on my tenth birthday. All of them alcohol or drug related accidents. I was mad and confused everytime. My parents allowed me to get my drivers license when I was sixteen because they knew they could trust I would never have even one drink and get behind the wheel of a car. Then I grew up and became a mother. I am now also terrified. I know that for every time I make the right decision someone else makes the wrong one. Anything can happen in the blink of an eye. I found myself mad and confused for the Styles family. Their tragedy will never make sense. We know it’s wrong. EVERYONE knows it’s wrong. So why does this keep happening? And why is it always the innocent ones who end up dying? That man should have to carry around pictures of Lisa and her kids every day for the rest of his life. He will get another chance that he doesn’t deserve. I hope he uses that chance wisely and NEVER forgets what he took away from those children, that husband, those parents… everyone who knew her.



  34. David R. Cashman
    June 30, 2010 8:39 pm

    97% of all the cases that I see have some component of drugs or alcohol. It runs the full spectrum from the gang banger selling crack cocaine to the Bethel Park teen queen snorting heroin to the 84 year old picked up on his third DUI in 60 days ( all of which had blood alcohol readings above .20, the limit being .08.). Stay mad and keep doing what you are doing with your son, it works! My Father once told me the worst thing that I could ever do was to make my Mother cry. I have the distinct feeling that your son has already learned this. But keep it up anyway.



  35. USCMike
    June 30, 2010 8:41 pm

    @ A – #26

    If you wonder why we have these reckless 20 year olds out there, just read the end of the P-G article where the clown from 51 got the expired license charge dismissed because he renewed his license the day AFTER the crash. I want to know how the magistrate figures renewing a license AFTER the incident, qualifies him to get that charge dropped. This kind of tolerance just gives someone like him an additional shot of bravado at having ‘beat the system’, yet there are folks who will suffer life-long consequences as a result of him ‘not being at fault’. Sorry pal, you’re just another 20 year old who needs a stint in the military, to not only get some discipline, but get someone to kick your ass since your parents haven’t done it…

    Given these two incidents, I’d suggest it’s time for the state to take a hard look at how these supposedly ‘minor’ traffic infractions are being handled by these local district judges. It’s very clear that with some of these folks, taking away their licenses will be the only solution that not only will get their attention, but take them off the road for a while, thus potentially saving more folks like Ms. Styles…



  36. but, "boys will be boys"...
    June 30, 2010 9:06 pm

    {/sarcasm off}
    when young, I gave tobacco, etc a chance (actually, I’ve only “tried” alcohol, the others are too repulsive beforehand). none of it has ever appealed. I don’t get why the stuff exists (besides naturally of course. e.g., fermenting mangoes, Nicotiana in wilderness, etc).
    I also went through a “madd” phase when i was a little older (“if they wacked themselves enough to drive intoxicated, they should have known themselves better than to get intoxicated”). Took me a while to realize that unfortunately other people don’t think far enough in advance, or whatever. They also become {cough} “social” {/cough} addicts before becoming old enough (e.g., Ben Cope) to know to avoid possible addictions.

    I also wonder a little how anyone (e.g., Ben Cope) could get smashed on marijuana. But, I guess it’s been bred to be pretty strong…



  37. -
    June 30, 2010 9:11 pm

    “another 20 year old who needs a stint in the military”
    possibly. or possibly not. everyone’s different, which is why miraculous EducationalSystemBreakthrough_A, doesn’t miraculously raise grades off all students. meanwhile EducationalSystemBreakthrough_B miraculously raises grades of other students, but doesn’t miraculously raise grades off EducationalSystemBreakthrough_A students.



  38. I'm not a parent, and...
    June 30, 2010 9:18 pm

    didn’t read all of these comments, so might be inadvertently echoing, but…
    another parental fear is when your kid rides in buddy’s car, and the buddy (or whoever another buddy) isn’t fit to drive because intoxicated, hormone phase, doofus, member of the Future Charles Mansons Of America, whatever.



  39. jennviolet
    June 30, 2010 11:33 pm

    I’m mad as hell. I have no words. What I can say is that I suffer from the disease of addiction myself. And make no mistake about it, it is a cancer. There is no cure. I’m a “normal” functioning girl who you’d never suspect. I’m your daughter, your sister, your wife, your secretary. And I’m in constant torture in my head. I’m just calling attention to a minority of people, people you all may consider scum of the earth. But we are people. And deep down we just want to be as normal and happy as you. So make recovery more acceptable. Make it easier for folks to get treatment. Let’s talk about it. Chances are you know someone who suffers. I saw those commercials as a child, I didn’t want to grow up to be a junkie. I was dealt a shitty hand of genetics. I know it scares the hell out of you. It just plain scares the shit out of me.



  40. JennE
    July 1, 2010 12:01 am

    I’m so angry as well… we shared a mutual friend who is completely broken up over this. As a mom — it’s just so close to home. I hate that this kid hasn’t been charged yet and is free. I hope they nail him. If not… then I severely question the justice system.

    Ginny — I hope this is ok to share…

    For those who would like to help the Styles family:

    Contributions in memory of Lisa Styles may be made to the Autism Society of America in her name.
    Or, to donate directly to her family, mail or drop off a check made out to “Children of Lisa Styles Trust” to this or any Dollar Bank location:
    Dollar Bank
    Lebanon Shops Office
    400 Mt. Lebanon Blvd
    Suite 2
    Pittsburgh, PA 15234



  41. Whatsername
    July 1, 2010 7:20 am

    I grew up in Mt. Lebanon and still live here, not more than 5 minutes away from the crash scene. I have believed for a long time that the intersection where Ben hit Ms. Styles should have a stop light, as it’s a dangerous intersection. Having said that, I was in school with the Copes and I was not surprised to hear that Ben was high on marijuana. There was a pretty serious drug problem when I attended school and from current students I know, there is still one. Maybe this tragedy will spawn some close-to-home examples for anti-drug education at the schools, and dissuade some people from doing these drugs. It was a frequent sight to see Jerd, the (now-retired) drug-sniffing dog in the halls when I was in school and it was such a shame that they had to do these sweeps. I really hope that from tragedy, we can better educate these kids to make better choices, and maybe this will force those in charge to stop pretending this is a Utopia.



  42. Legallypgh(Kathy)
    July 1, 2010 9:43 am

    re: the kid being charged — the police have a certain amount of time in order to officially file charges, and believe me, they are making sure all their ducks are in a row before doing so. After the police file charges, it will be up to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office as to whether to prosecute or not, so stay tuned, and if they choose not to, then you know where to turn your anger and attention.



  43. dislocated pittsburgher
    July 1, 2010 10:45 am

    Another tragic loss of life. Society needs to address this growing problem of driving while doing everything else but driving. It is not just drunk drivers, it is distracted drivers also. I know of a 36 year old man who was killed while getting the mail from his rural mailbox. He left behind 2 children and his wife who was expecting their 3rd child. The other driver was not drunk. She was mad at her boyfriend and was not paying attention to the road. As he stood on the side of the road she drove directly into him. People need to respect that if they drive a car they have the potential to kill. This goes for all distractions, especially the latest cell phones. Its not that important, it can wait. My prayers go out to Lisa’s family. Thank you for allowing me to voice my opinion.



  44. Ekat
    July 2, 2010 9:05 pm

    I agree with BeauJacques. I am NOT excusing what Ben did, but I made a lot of bad choices in my teens and 20s, so I won’t rain down wrath upon his head. Not because I’m not angry at what happened, but because I would be a hypocrite if I did. The only difference between myself and Ben is that my actions didn’t have the horrible consquences that his did. I grew up into a responsible adult, learning from age, not a tragedy. I am no better than him, only luckier.

    To everyone that has always had the good sense to make smart choices in all ages of your lives, I admire you, and understand your outrage. To those that, like me, made bad choices and didn’t pay a price, say a prayer of gratitude that your stupidity didn’t hurt or kill another person.

    Finally, RIP, Lisa. My heart aches for you and your family.