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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on July 24th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 20 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 20

Sober promise, pleasant prize

Elmer Barrueta wins the "All In Driver" drawing

BY BRIAN WRIGHT

anta Maria High School graduate Elmer Barrueta recently won a Mini Cooper for pledging to drive unimpaired for one year. He was selected from hundreds of students in San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara counties. The drawing was a part of the “All In Driver” program sponsored by McCarthy’s of San Luis Obispo. 

The program aims to encourage students to drive without distractions or impairment whether it’s because of alcohol, drugs, or even the use of cell phones or other electronic devices.

Barrueta commented on how he found out about the pledge: “I actually walked into prom with my buddy and saw the table next to the door, and, next thing I knew, I was signing it.

“I was already well aware of the dangers of driving drunk or impaired, so I hardly had to even think about signing it,” he said. “It was an easy decision for me at that point.”

Before the drawing took place, Barrueta promised classmate Jade Dodson—mere days before she was killed in a tragic accident—that he would do her a favor if he won the car.

“I made a promise to take her for a drive around town or something if I won. Unfortunately, she passed before I could,” he said.

Participants had to be present at the drawing to be eligible to win the final prize. It was held on June 22 at McCarthy’s of San Luis Obispo.

“I honestly hesitated about going to the drawing,” he said. “My dad needed help with landscaping and I didn’t think they could get anyone else to help at that time. Luckily my mom called and insisted I go, and there you go. I was there.”

Barrueta admitted he was extremely nervous, but felt that he would be content even without winning the car.

The teenager said he experienced both surprise and elation when the contest organizers called his name.

“The second they called my name, in that moment, I immediately thought of Jade,” he said. “As I walked up to the podium, my knees were really weak, and I nearly tripped over myself.”

Barrueta will be going through the process of acquiring his license later this year, and he’s excited at the prospect of driving his very own car, especially one received through these means.

He will major in computer science at San Jose State University in the fall.

 

Intern Brian Wright composed this week’s Community Corner. Send comments or ideas to the Sun via e-mail at intern@santamariasun.com.