Random Ram

Dec 102003
Authors: Elizabeth Kerrigan

The holiday season is here once again and in the spirit of

Christmas, New Years and an entire month off of school there is

going to be plenty of partying and drinking. When drinking and

having a good time, thinking before you drink and drive could save

your life, or your best friend’s.

On Jan. 4 at 12:15 a.m. this year, Jenni Cordova, a senior

majoring in apparel design and merchandising, lost one of the most

important people in her life to drunk driving, her boyfriend of two

and a half years, Patrick Clabeau.

“I was the last person to find out,” Cordova said.

Cordova and Clabeau had a long distance relationship that

started when Cordova came to live in Fort Collins to go to CSU. Her

boyfriend had to stay behind in their hometown of Colorado


On the night of Jan. 3 some friends of friends were having a

party, just as all college students do. Clabeau was there with his

best friend, John Smith, where they were drinking moderately and

having a good time. When the two got hungry around midnight they

decided to leave to go get something to eat.

Clabeau and Smith piled into Smith’s small white ’97 Mustang and

took off in search of something good to eat.

“No one knows exactly what happened,” Cordova said. “But as they

were driving, another car pulled up next to them and started to

race them and somehow (Smith’s) car went out of control and ended

up flipped over and slammed against the side railing,” Cordova


She said that while no one has come forward as the driver of the

other car involved, there are speculations as to the identity of

the other driver.

“We are currently trying to take legal action against him but it

has been difficult so far,” Cordova said.

After Smith’s car was hit, Smith was thrown from the car and

Clabeau was killed instantly from head trauma and spinal cord

injuries. Smith was taken to the hospital but eventually recovered


Because of this night, many people’s lives would be changed


“When my parents heard, they wanted to be the first to tell me.

I had no idea what they were going to tell me when they knocked on

my door here in Fort Collins,” Cordova said.

Cordova and Clabeau had plans to get married the following

summer. Clabeau was attending Pikes Community College for business

at the time and had plans of transferring to Colorado State

University after they got married.

“Don’t drink and drive because it is likely that you will kill

yourself or someone else,” Cordova said. “(Smith) ended up killing

his best friend and that is even worse for him. There are so many

consequences and it can have such a huge impact on so many

different people’s lives.”

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