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.”