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December 19, 2013

Making a U-turn: After DUI, man quits alcohol

After DUI, man quits alcohol with family, friends' support

Benjamin K. Stephenson chokes up when he thinks of that day.

Nineteen months ago, Stephenson wrecked his car near High and Eighth streets while driving under the influence of alcohol. He'd hit a parked car just before midnight May 12, 2012, according to reports at the time, and went to Logansport Memorial Hospital for treatment of a cut on his forehead.

He remembers waking up in the hospital with a bandage on his forehead and an intravenous line going into one arm, hearing a friend tell him he was going to be arrested on a DUI charge.

Police reports at the time indicated he'd been driving at about four times the legal blood alcohol limit. But in the weeks following the crash until now, that wasn't what he thought about most.

It was what could have been — but wasn't.

"I could've killed somebody," he said in an interview this month. "A little kid crossing the street, a family in a car — but I didn't. I got lucky. I believe somebody was looking out for me."

That was the day Stephenson decided to quit drinking alcohol altogether after several years of progressively worse alcohol abuse.

A 2006 graduate from Logansport High School who played on the school's soccer team and worked at Arone's Hardware, he'd started drinking on weekends in high school. Then the summer of 2006, after graduation, he began blacking out after heavy drinking.

Alcohol stayed with him while studying at Indiana University-Kokomo to earn a bachelor's degree in business management. He was arrested in Logansport in 2008 on a public intoxication charge, and for a few months after that stayed away from alcohol. Stephenson returned to drinking, however. After graduating from IUK in 2010, he'd drink alcohol on weekends after work at the Braun Corp. facility in Winamac.

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