I was on a Southwest flight heading to Sacramento last week reading the in-flight magazine.
There was an article called “Bourbon Barrels” which stated that in Kentucky the number of Bourbon-aging barrels outnumber the state’s residents by more than 360,000. There are 4.7M aging barrels in use among the commercial distillers. And that in recent years, the popularity of premium small-batch and single barrel products has skyrocketed to the point where the bourbon industry in Kentucky is in its biggest expansion phase since Prohibition.
While reading this it reminded me of an online article I had read earlier in the week where company executives for Brown-Forman (Jack Daniels) stated that they’ve seen improvements in liquor consumption at U.S. bars and restaurants. The so-called “out-on-the-town” drinking, a key segment for the spirits companies, had been hurt in recent years by the economy, but with renewed brand development and wider distribution, Brown-Forman stated they are seeing improved net sales growth.
It was a quick flight, but I had time to read all two-pages of the Oregonian Business section to learn that John Zupan, 66, died.
John was like many of you who read this blog. A person who enjoyed classic cars and motorcycles. He also was the founder of Zupan’s Markets which makes him a grocery store pioneer. According to my sources he had recently purchased a 2009 BMW motorcycle and was riding it on Northeast Marine Drive when his motorcycle was hit head-on by a motorist. According to Portland Police reports the car was driven by Edy Porfirio Reynoso-Ramirez, age 32. Reynoso-Ramirez was driving a 1998 Honda Civic and was speeding in the eastbound lane of Northeast Marine Drive, driving erratically and passing other vehicles. After the accident Reynoso-Ramirez fled the scene and tracking dogs were used to locate him hiding in an industrial area. Reynoso-Ramirez was booked into Multnomah County jail with allegations of assault in the second degree, failure to perform the duties of a driver, DUII and reckless driving. In addition, U.S. Immigration and Customs placed a hold on him.
This is a very sad story. One that occurs to often (drunk drivers (some being undocumented)) and is not easy to get use too.
For some topics, particularly on public health and immigration, summaries are dangerous because they can create the idea that a single or simple solution exists when it’s always more complex. However, for those who say that the status of the driver is irrelevant, I beg to differ. If Reynoso-Ramirez were not here illegally, Mr. Zupan might well still be with us. In Oregon like most all other states acceptable PROOF of residence is a requirement for a drivers license. It’s unclear if Reynoso-Ramirez has ever been checked to see if he even knows how to drive or if he can even read the road signs? Lastly, by the nature of his illegal status, there is an implied disregard of U.S. laws so, why not drink and drive? It’s a third world corrupt behavior and one that is problematic.
I’m sure there is a lot of blame to pass around for this accident. The DMV is at fault for lax documentation measures. The spirits industry for its continual drive of seeing improved sales or the retail outlet for selling the spirits. It’s the governments fault because they are lax on immigration. Geez, even President Barack Obama’s family is embroiled in a similar matter. His uncle, Onyango Obama, an illegal immigrant was charged with drunken driving in Framingham, MA. He was ordered by an immigration judge back in 1992 to leave the country, but for some reason just hasn’t gotten around to it. Onyango, who’s from Kenya, is the half brother of the president’s late father and has pleaded not guilty to operating under the influence of alcohol and is being held on an immigration detainer.
I anticipate that this accident will be placed on the back burner by the Oregon media or law makers as to avoid having any debate over illegal immigration and any associated issues. What’s worse is that many people out there – especially insurance companies- consider motorcycle accidents, even when the motorcycle rider is NOT at fault, the “cost of doing business” and that motorcycle riders have essentially assumed the risk of getting hurt. Many non-motorcycle riding members of the pubic, in fact, assume that anyone who rides a motorcycle is asking for trouble and if they do get hurt, well then that is the riders fault even if the rider did nothing improper.
Unfortunately the real issue (drunk and reckless driving) will get buried in the media as questions about who will or will not participate in the Ducks next football practice take center stage…
My sincere condolences to the Zupan family.
Photos courtesy of Zupan.com and Fox 12 News