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Portola Valley driver charged with felony DUI

Original post made on Aug 4, 2011

Carter Madsen Boyce, 19, of Portola Valley has been charged with felony drunken driving in a July 30 incident in which he was at the wheel of a 2007 BMW when it crashed into a tree at about 1:15 a.m. at Westridge and Mapache drives, authorities said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 4, 2011, 11:27 AM

Comments (63)

Posted by lessons learned, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm

So, rich parents, another reason not to give your teen an expensive high performance car. Much, much better to make him get a job and earn money to buy a beater. Guaranteed he will be far less likely to drive recklessly or under the influence.

Glad the driver and passenger were lucky and didn't get more seriously infjured.


Posted by lucky, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 4, 2011 at 12:30 pm

The kid is lucky that he didn't kill anyone. I hope the penalty includes prison time and a lengthy license suspension.


Posted by lucky, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Where did an underage kid get his booze? Are they being charged, too?


Posted by guest, a resident of another community
on Aug 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm

The problem with this state is not lengthy enough prison sentences. Lengthy prison sentences are necessary because what is important is incarcerating people who do things we don't like, not about adjusting behavior and making people productive citizens. If we put lots more people in prison it will also help to solve our unemployment problems.

We should make parents put alcohol in a locked safe so children don't get into it. If they fail to put alcohol into a safe long prison sentences should go to the parents. Then the all knowing state could raise the children in a safe and responsible environment.

Since putting cigarettes behind the counter has completely eliminated teen smoking the same could go for alcohol. Perhaps we could move alcohol to state stores. That would allow the state the ability to generate unlimited taxes, no, that would be fees and surcharges.


Posted by lucky, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Aug 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm

These kids were so lucky not to have been killed by the impact, or from the telephone pole steel cable they severed en route to slamming into the tree. Hopefully it's a sobering wake-up call.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Aug 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm

When you choose a school like Menlo for your child, this is the yound adult you choose to form...poor value system.


Posted by Problem child, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 4, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Anonymous just doesn't get it. It is the child- parent relationship. It is as simple as that.
The school one chooses to go to has very little to do with it.


Posted by lessons learned, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Anonymous has a point. Menlo is very materialistic, and competitive in terms of spending. If your kid is driving a Corolla to school, the other kids will make fun of him, and it will probably get back to their parents, your fellow VCs or hedge fund managers or whoever it is that you need to impress.

So far, I have been satisfied with the public school system. If I ever decide to put my kid in private school, it will be a school that is not status conscious and focuses on turning out good citizens. I hear there are a few of those out there. Parents around here tend to gravitate to Menlo because it's the Rolex of private schools. Maybe not the best choice for their kids, but is that a consideration for some parents?


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Aug 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Birds of a feather flock together. The chosen school represents the household values. So parent-child and education choices are all linked.


Posted by Owl, a resident of another community
on Aug 4, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Time for everyone to look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves if they have been DUI between the age of 18 and today. Better still, think of the number of times you've been DUI with a passenger, including a family member.

This offense has little to do with socio-economic status or education. In fact, I would bet the less economically fortunate are more likely to be DUI than those with the means to hire a driver or pay for a ride.

Drawing a causal connection between this young adult's high school education and his value system only reveals the jealousy of those who don't have access to private education. I'm perplexed over how they somehow receive gratification in proclaiming that private education and wealth led the driver to almost kill his friend.

Could this not happen to a public school graduate from a lower to middle class family? Would you celebrate that situation as well?

Perhaps it has less to do with the high school he went to than the University he now attends. Could it be his recent University experiences which led him to make this poor decision?

I think the blame squarely rests on the adult (the 18 year old driver) who made a poor choice not only to drink, but also to drive. We can go round and round on the external influences which made him drive that night. It doesn't matter. He did it.

He injured someone in the commission of a crime. There are severe consequences for what he's done. What in the moment was an inconsequential decision will haunt him for at least the next decade, particularly when he ticks the box on the job application for having been convicted of a felony.

I think an expression of sorrow for the victim, while holding out compassion for the driver, is a much more civilized way to contribute to this conversation. They are both in my thoughts.


Posted by lessons learned, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 4, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Nope, never been DUI. And it's pretty well known that the incidence of drug and alcohol availability at certain private schools is pretty high. In fact, the first time my child encountered alcohol at a party, he was at an Atherton mansion with a well-stocked liquor cabinet and no adult supervision. The guest of honor was turning 11! Another friend was a model student until sixth grade, when his parents sent him to a local school (not Menlo, but similar cachet) with known problems. They yanked him after a year, but by then he had a drug addiction.

The problem is not the private school itself but the values tacitly espoused by that school. When you enroll your child in a school whose culture favors conspicuous consumption, unless you model a different set of values, you are sending a strong message to your child.

[Portion removed. Please don't speculate on the parents' behavior or motivation.} Unfortunately, there are many other parents in this area with similar values (or lack thereof), hence a lot of young drivers presenting a danger to us all.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 4, 2011 at 8:48 pm

lessons learned -

Whether you're driving a BMW or a Prius, we're all status conscious.

Each is just trying to impress a different audience.

Mr. Boyce is a 19 year old who made a bad decision. You know, it's not always the fault of his school or his parents or society.


Posted by lawyer in training, a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 4, 2011 at 9:20 pm

In aggreing with POGO, it is clear that he is a 19 year old who made a bad decision. With that being said, this bad decision does not need to be read in to by outsiders trying to dissect his parents and his choices and the society he is a part of and trying to put the finger on the high school he attended, the college he attends, or the values his parents have instilled in him.

It is imperative in these types of cases to look at the whole picture. Who's car was he driving. If it was his parents, how did he get access to it. Were there any instances like this that he was involved in in high school and/or college. Do his parents have any type of history with DUI's and things of that nature. How was his record during high school. How has his record been at college.

Obviously this is something that Mr. Boyce needs to be disciplined for, But with these cases it is necessary to look at what kind of a kid he is, and all the specifics of the incident. Speculating about Mr. Boyce's Parents, the high school he went to, and why he went to that high school whether it was his choice or his parents, will basically turn into gossip.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 4, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Interesting how "spectators" can analyze this. There have been numerous reports about a kid in a BMW speeding in PV. Hopefully, this is a kid who made a single mistake and not a mistake just accumulating chances to really hurt someone. My vote is to give the kid the benefit of the doubt. If he really has a problem, hopefully his parents can recognize and deal with. Speculators on forums never will. Please don't assume you understand this or any similar situation. There are families in many economic strata going through strife today. Just because they are driving a certain car or going o a school doesn't mean they aren't feeling serious pain. We need to get back to understanding and forgiveness that isn't segregated by social class. We are all in it together and the more we support one another, the better we will all be. This class warfare is not the answer.


Posted by Gentleman M, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 4, 2011 at 10:11 pm

"lessons learned": If your child was at an Atherton mansion, it very well could have been the house of a Menlo-Atherton student. after all, the school not only has Atherton in its name, but it also has has many students who are residents of that city

Regardless of semantics, it speaks volumes of who you are if you are projecting on this young kid by judging simply by what school he went to. Maybe you shouldn't have let your kid go to an unsupervised mansion with a well-stocked liquor cabinet? But you raise your kid however you feel is appropriate and be the best influence so that child can be a better person. sometimes, some of us stray off the beaten path, whether by choice or by something out of our control.

stop judging, be pro-active, and make the community a better place. have love for all kids instead of jumping to rash conclusions and being doused in negativity.



Posted by MJ, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2011 at 10:36 pm

It is a complete waste of time to blame Mr. Boyce's poor decision on his socio-economic status, his parents, and especially the high school he attended. He made a dangerous and irresponsible decision that unfortunately too many young Americans (and adults) have made regardless of their upbringing. We should all be thankful that no one was even further injured. I can only imagine that this was a startling wake up call for Mr. Boyce and his family, along with the other passenger and his family. Menlo School, like all the high schools in the area stress the importance of safety and dedicate a significant amount of time educating students on the dangers of alcohol, and drunk driving in particular.

It makes me sad as a resident of this community that so many people are using this forum to try and shed a negative light on an already unfortunate situation. Mr. Boyce made a large mistake that he will be held accounted for and that will affect him for the rest of his life. It is extremely childish and unproductive to play the "blame game" in regards to this matter.


Posted by lessons learned, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 4, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Re my parenting error: I didn't expect that alcohol would be available at a fifth grade party, but I do consider it an oversight on my part and I learned from that experience. The birthday boy was an Encinal student who later went to private school.

Public school students cause car accidents too. I was a victim of one M-A driver and witnessed another accident caused by a reckless M-A driver. In both cases, the boys were driving vehicles that were too powerful for an inexperienced teen driver. So I reiterate my original premise: make your kid get a job if he wants a car. And if you must buy him a car for your own convenience, find an older, slower car, not a vehicle that should be driven by a more mature driver. If you are concerned about losing social status if your son drives an old Nissan to school -- well, maybe you need to grow up too. We'll all be safer!


Posted by Think about it, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 5, 2011 at 8:32 am

One thing parents need to seriously consider is the cars they allow children to drive. That BMW that hit the tree has a speedometer and it goes all the way to 160 MPH. A VW Rabbit has a speedo that goes to 85 MPH. Just an opinion but when you give a young person a car that goes 160 MPH chances are their going to se if it will get there. Now add a teaspoon of alcohol and it's a recipe for disaster and there are allot of old oak trees around here with the remains of some nice kids on them to prove it, parents need to think about it?


Posted by M-A grad, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 5, 2011 at 10:19 am

I graduated M-A in the early 90's. I knew/know people that went to M-A, Menlo, Sacred Heart, Paly, St Francis, Los Altos High, and Woodside High. There wasn't much of a difference, if any, in behavior amongst the different schools including drug and alcohol use and reckless driving. It happened everywhere. Specifically there were 3 DUI related fatalities in my class: one kid was from St. Francis, the other M-A and the third Menlo. All 3 were in different types of vehicles at varying speeds, attempting varying maneuvers and from different schools. My point is, forget trying to blame wealth and privilege, the schools or the parents. At age 18+ the responsibility is squarely on the individual. You can give one kid a high performance car and he'll crash into a tree while another becomes a profesional race car driver. Some take the ball and run with it while others fumble and fail.


Posted by graduate, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Come on, we've all driven drunk. I think it's just survival of the fittest at the point of driving home by yourself. The MA kids get home safe, while the Menlo kids are not bred with enough survival instinct so they fall asleep at the wheel and crash into a tree. Makes perfect sense, let's agree on MA being superior. K cool


Posted by The Truth, a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Lots of late night accidents over the decades in Westridge (including death) involving alcohol. Most single vehicle accidents.

Face it, this kid may have a problem with alcohol. Probably bought the beer at AM/PM or in R.C.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm

No, we haven't all driven drunk even if you have.

I'll admit M-A IS superior, and of course, it has street cred. Menlo had, and still has, a rep for being a school for rich, prissy wimps. At least the rich at M-A weren't wimps! Menlo is perfect for people like the actress featured in a current article here, but it's also a bubble, just like Paly & Gunn.

I'm glad the guy is being held on a felony. Perhaps his parents will also learn from this.


Posted by anonymous2, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I don't think people get it, Affluent neighborhood = alcohol, cigars, and less supervision at a very early age. (Let's not even get into the cocaine parties these Atherton wives have all the time)

"oh but we have a really good nanny that watches our kids while we ignorantly go spend significant hours we should spend parenting on vacations and at business meetings"

you really think a foreign, shy, nervous-about-upsetting-your-kid nanny will be able to say no or even keep up with these kids running around their huge castles all day? I don't think so.

Generally speaking, you can say that MA parents on average are a little more in their kids' lives than the average Menlo Parent.

And i don't consider lending your kid your Maserati for the day good parenting.




Posted by Paul Goehner, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Well first of all to all the haters and spineless posters if you want to bash people, post your name. Do not hide behind the web. This is a good family in the midst of a bad choice. This should be a time for community to support each other and find solutions. I am disgusted by the simple minded name calling.


Posted by My2Bits, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Dear Readers, Let's not sink to the level of labelling kids who attend any one school. I bet we could all come up with examples of bad decisions made by kids from all our local schools. First in my mind is dealing cocaine from a high school locker, drinking 1/2 a bottle of vodka in Dad's study while Mom hosts a benefit in the garden, several fatal accidents and way too many steps into the path of oncoming trains. We all play a role in keeping our kids safe and helping them make good decisions. In my parenting experience, that is ever so much easier when parents from all schools band together to tend the flock. It is a small town with many cross-school relationships - our boy's social group spans 6 different high schools. I am sorry for the family and ever so relieved that no one was seriously hurt. This is a major wake up call - and we should all discuss it in detail with our own kids.


Posted by AC, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Just listened to the whole fire dispatch radio archive of this incident. I hope they both make a full recovery.

Additionally, and to coincidentally help stir the pot on this forum, the initial call was given to San Mateo County Fire Dispatch by the BMW restraint system alerting them that the BMW had ejected it's airbags.

Also, at least one of the victims was trapped inside the vehicle for at least 20 minutes. Both victims were transported to the hospital but the second had to wait 8 minutes for another ambulance all the way from Redwood City.

When the BMW restraint system attempted to make contact to the driver/passenger, there was absolutely no response, suggesting that the accident had caused either the response microphone to malfunction or the victims to go unconscious. This suggests that if it were not for the caliber of the vehicle, or the safety restraint system inside the vehicle, these two victims very easily could have been trapped without any communications.

(keep in mind, had they even had their cell-phones on them and the ability to dial, cell coverage is so spotty on that particular roadway they might not have had that option.)

Facts are that the passenger had significantly more trauma than the driver at the point of extrication out of the vehicle.

Nothing else is suggested.

**Be respectful if/when utilizing this information as supporting evidence for an argument.**


Posted by MH, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm

This is an unfortunate but thankfully not tragic accident. I am glad no lives were lost and am sure it will be a learning experience.

It is disappointing to hear so many stereotype about schools and cities. We all live in a wealthy community. I've traveled to India and Africa in the past two years and have a healthy perspective about how fortunate we all are.

As a Menlo grad (after Oak Knoll and Hillview), I bought my first car for $500 in the early '80s by flipping burgers at A&W when it was still on El Camino and then bussed tables at Sundance in PA. I have two children who have graduated from Menlo School and one currently attending. One worked at Coldstone for three summers and the other currently works at Amici's. The third was a junior counselor at a camp this summer. The older ones contributed financially to driving the family Honda Civic. My brother went to M-A. Drugs and alcohol between the schools appear the same based on all the conversations I've had with them (and both my kids have friends at M-A).

Rivalry is great. But I hope people can avoid shallow stereotyping and appreciate that kids who are spoiled by wealth may also attend public schools and hard-working, financially grounded kids can attend private schools. It's about individuals. And we all make mistakes.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm

People give it a rest. Boyce is not the first nor will he be the last to drink and drive or use drugs and drive. Do you have stats showing one school has more DUIs than another or that more well to do drivers have more DUIs or that there are more DUIs among younger people?

A bigger issue is preventing him from becoming a repeat offender or a habitual DUI like the 62 year old woman who's most recent DUI adventure through downtown MP included hitting four parked cars, a tree, and a pedestrian.


Posted by wait, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 5, 2011 at 1:09 pm

but MA IIIISSSSSS superior...


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 5, 2011 at 1:27 pm

I think M-A grad said it best: "At age 18+ the responsibility is squarely on the individual."

Impaired driving isn't exclusive to public or private schools, the young or the old, the rich or the poor.


Posted by Fred, a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm

It is unfortunate everyone gets to post, some with ridiculous suggestions. Prison is for criminals, who commit premeditated and deliberate often sober acts of violence against others. Teenagers, whose brains are not fully developed require different interventive counseling/rehabilitation. Bad judgement can be criminal but let the punishment fit the crime. @ the Truch--the alcohol most likely pinched from a polo club or exclusive country club.


Posted by ANonymous, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Aug 5, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Parents are the role models of their children. In the end, they can be exposed to many negative and positive peer influences, but a parents' ultimate goal is to teach the children to make the right choices. Getting caught means it has probably happened before and he was not taught to limit his drinking. They are lucky to be alive.


Posted by switchtosolar, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Gee .... What a surprise. Throw the book at him. I hope the other kid's parents sue the hell of him.


Posted by Ellen Moran, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm

You should all be ashamed of yourselves. It is so easy to pass judgement- especially anonymously. I know Carter Boyce- he is a wonderful young man who made a bad choice that he and his passenger are paying for. Luckily they were not killed. All the comments about schools and affluence are disgusting.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I agree completely. It's as if many of you have been accumulating bile over weeks and weeks and this is the first chance you've had to expel it.

To extrapolate as so many of you have from the bare facts of this case as presented is surprising and almost unbelievable. You're not acting rationally, and you seem to be not trying at all to remember what it was like to be 19, especially the males among you.


Posted by Nancy, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm

I was shocked when I heard that the freshman at my daughter's private school went to a party in Portola Valley a few years ago and they were all allowed to drink alcohol. To everyone's disgust it turned out that the father of the student hosting the party was in law enforcement.

Every party my daughter has attended there has been alcohol, either being served by the parents who think it is okay as long as they take the kids car keys away or by kids bringing it in. So after this happened a few times we just decided not allow our high school kids to attend parties unless it is a small crowd of kids and families we know.

A word of advise to parents .... it is usually the so called "in" or popular group that are drinking and experimenting with drugs. Also, I have found that parents just leave on trips and leave their teenage kids at home and this is when all of the partying goes on.

Just a few words of advise.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm

It's pretty funny to read comments from those who know the perpetrator & even funnier that they're peeved we're not posting our names - like that makes a difference.

I don't like drunks or drivers. I don't like drunk drivers who endanger the lives of others & cost the county to deal w/their screw ups, no matter what their age is. Saving up our bile? No, I'm just not tolerant of idiots whose "mistakes" put lives in danger - whether they're 19 or 62, whether it's their first time or 5th time.

It's good that you all are coming to his defense - perhaps you'll put your time where you typing is when it comes time for him to need rides to various places. I know public transpo in his area isn't very good.

He'll earn respect when he either has 5 years of sobriety down, or, if he doesn't have a drinking problem that requires absolute sobriety, if he never gets popped for a DUI again.


Posted by PVnative, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Aug 6, 2011 at 8:53 am

Why do hostile commenters immediately jump to far-fetched assumptions to validate their malicious points?

The BMW was not the 19 year old suspect's vehicle -- it was his father's, which the teen took out for a joy ride while his parents were out of town that night. I would find it hard to believe that the average Almanac reader does not have a close friend or acquaintance who drives a BMW. And the alcohol did not come from the parents' collection -- it was brought to the house by the teens. Again, it's a false and ignorant projection to claim that the underage rich Menlo teens somehow have higher access to cheap booze than public school students. I know through past experience that it's easier to procure a fake ID on the Menlo-Atherton campus than within the nearby private schools.

Where in this story do readers obtain the information to make their hateful criticisms? Of course teens make irresponsible, reckless decisions. But to claim that only teens from the Menlo School/ Portola Valley system are left alone and have access to alcohol is moronic. It would take me more than ten fingers to count the number of tragic drunken incidents I have observed among the students of this area's slightly less affluent public school community. Keep your bitter prejudices away from this public forum, because they are ignorant, inaccurate, disgusting, and unfairly malicious.


Posted by member, a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Aug 6, 2011 at 11:27 am

I know both these young men and their families. In total they are a wonderful group of people. Yes, Carter made a mistake. We all do. This will be with him forever. That is enough. Let the boys and their families move on.


Posted by Reader, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Aug 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Carter is a good boy who made a mistake of poor judgement. This is something that has imposed on his whole family, who will have to live with this the rest of their lives. Teenagers do not realize that a mistake at that age comes with a big price.

Beside the point, it does not feel safe driving in Portola Valley or Woodside at late hours because of the number of drinking and driving incidents that occur. Let us not forget the boy who crashed on cervantes and shawnee or the accident on portola road not too long ago. This is a large community problem.


Posted by Driver, a resident of another community
on Aug 6, 2011 at 3:50 pm

So how many of you Carter fans are lining up to drive him to his legal appointments and his friend to his medical appointments?


Posted by Lilly, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 7, 2011 at 7:55 am

Drugs and alcohol are everywhere and at every high school ....how many of you adults drink and drive ?




Posted by lessons learned, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 7, 2011 at 9:07 am

It's heartwarming to see an alleged felon's friends pop up to defend him as a fine young man who made a mistake. It wasn't even his car! He took his parents' car without permission!

Three of my kids are driving age, and they would not (and have not) ever borrowed my car without asking. Nor do they -- or my husband and I -- drink and drive.

Re: Menlo. I have friends who have sent their kids there, and yes, I know that there are problems with drugs at public schools too. But, much as you Menlo apologists choose to deny it, the school has long been associated with competitive materialism, absentee parenting, and excessive privilege. Other private schools do not have that same culture. It is also my anecdotal observation that parents who choose Menlo over some of the other local privates are doing so because they move in social circles that place inordinate value on Menlo. The old boy thing, I guess. That mindset does not contribute to a healty environment for teens, unlike the real world scrum you'll encounter at M-A!


Posted by Susan, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 7, 2011 at 9:51 am

I have lived in this community for many years and many parents openly admit that they send their kids to these high end private high schools so that they can make connections for their own careers. They are social climbers who are sending their kids to these schools for the wrong reasons.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 7, 2011 at 10:24 am

"...competitive materialism, absentee parenting, and excessive privilege..."

Yes, I'm sure there's none of that foolishness at M-A or Woodside.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Of course there's the same foolishness at M-A & Woodside. But Menlo's rep is an earned one, & earned it has been over many years.

I don't drink & drive & neither does my social group. That's why there are designated drivers or people don't drink if they have to drive. It's simple, really.

[Portion deleted. Please don't speculate about other offenses by a named person.]


Posted by Jasmine, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Why would "Lessons Learned" from Menlo Park call kids for M-A scum. All of my doctors from Stanford have sent their kids there and have gone on to Ivy Leagues...quite frankly after spending around 100K a year for 4 kids to go to private school, I feel like a fool - especially when their friends are getting to the exact same colleges as the kids from their very expensive private high school.

Why are these kids scum...because there parents may not have to money to send them to one of these private schools.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Jasmine
Lessons Learned did not call them scum - he said they benefit from the real world "scrum". It's a rugby term which also means "a disorderly struggle."

In other words Lessons was talking about real world life and struggles.


Posted by Jasmine, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

My mistake. Time to put this to rest since no one was hurt. The teens have had a wake up call. Let them be and get on with their lives. I must admit that I would feel totally different if an innocent person would have gotten killed.


Posted by ConcernedCitizen , a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm

I am filled with such disgust. This young man made a mistake. We all do. Get over it. Get over yourselves.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 8, 2011 at 6:26 am

Jasmine:

no one got hurt? Go back and reread the article. The passenger was seriously injured.


Posted by Man Up, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 8, 2011 at 12:36 pm

The blame for this incident falls squarely on the driver of the car and the passenger, who made the decision to drive while drunk. They had no doubt been made well aware of the dangers and the illegality of driving drunk, through driver's education classes, school seminars, their parents, and constant marketing campaigns. It was a stupid thing to do, but thank God no one was killed, or any bystanders injured; it could have been much worse. Man up and accept responsibility for your actions. I sympathize with the families of the two boys, as this will hang over their heads for the rest of their lives. A lengthy medical rehabilitation and a felony jail sentence are heavy prices to pay for one mistake, but if they hit a tree, they could have hit a car full of innocent people.

I am saddened to see the various scapegoats brought out in the comments on this board. Why does there always have to be a search for someone to blame, other than the perpetrators themselves?


Posted by lessons learned, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Of course the primary blame falls on the driver and passenger. But this forum exists to provide members of our community with a place to discuss important issues.

In my first post, I suggested that parents should expect their kids to get jobs so as to earn money for the cars they buy or use. In most parts of the country, that's a given, but in this privileged cocoon, parents are too quick to hand their children whatever they want. You do your children no favors in this regard.

When my oldest child was still young, I heard a parenting expert advise "never buy your kid a car" -- requiring a teen to take on this particular responsibility ensures that the young driver will be more careful. He claimed he had never seen a serious accident caused by a teen who had earned the money for his own car. Around that same time, I knew a man who bought his daughter a red Corvette for her 16th birthday. She crashed it and died that day. The message stuck.

Some of you seem to derive pleasure from insulting those of us who are upset by this DUI. But there are way too many heedless and irresponsible teens on the road, and instead of vilifying us, maybe you should think before handing over the keys. If this incident causes one parent to be more prudent about extending driving privileges to a child, then we're making progress.


Posted by Student, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Lessons Learned, [portion deleted]. While a young mans entire life could be ruined by a tragic mistake, all you care about is how to vent your bitterness about Menlo School. You claim "this forum exists to provide members of our community with a place to discuss important issues", but it's blatantly obvious you're using it as a forum to convey your own agenda. [Portion deleted.]


Posted by switchtosolar, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 8, 2011 at 6:03 pm

It's terrifying to me to read so many comments that are essentially justifying this type of behavior, by naming it "a mistake". It was an extraordinary lack of judgment. This kid didn't just wake up one day and decide that doing something so selfish and idiotic was ok. Lack of judgment and responsibility are created by years of ignoring and excusing "mistakes", that cultivate a specific belief and value system. Long before he even had his first drink of the night, I'm pretty sure he thought that it was completely ok for him to get loaded, put a friend in the car and drive away. For those of you that think this is a "mistake" that "anyone" could make, please do the rest of us a favor and keep your "good" kids off the roads that our kids are driving on. Speaking of good parenting, if they were coming from a party why haven't the hosting homeowners been dragged through the streets yet??


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 8, 2011 at 7:27 pm

switchtosolar stated: "Lack of judgment and responsibility are created by years of ignoring and excusing "mistakes", that cultivate a specific belief and value system. Long before he even had his first drink of the night, I'm pretty sure he thought that it was completely ok for him to get loaded, put a friend in the car and drive away."

The fact is that you don't know if any of those things are true at all.


Posted by Menlo Alum, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 8, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Lessons Learned,

While this story's publication acts as yet another example of the terrible risk and danger -- both physical and legal -- associated with drunk driving, the comments you have posted do not seem constructive or insightful.

Though you seem intent on expressing anguish toward Menlo, you have failed to display an understanding of the School, the values it preaches, or its community, and instead have cited stereotypes. Menlo has employed the Every 15 Minutes program (www.every15minutes.com) as an aggressive way to confront the dangers associated with drunk driving. In this instance, it seems to have failed, but who knows how many incidents it has prevented.

What is most upsetting -- and this coming from a heavy financial aid recipient (I'm in this category with over a fifth of the school) -- is your insistance that Menlo is a materialistic and status-driven community. From the outside looking in, it may be easy to say it is simply on the notion that there are many wealthy families. But possessing means does not mean, inherently, that one is obsessed with social status. Do not rely on stereotypes or rumors to make your judgements.

I'm sure Menlo would not approve of a post like this. Engaging with you only gives you credibility. But I found your writing so personally offensive and so far from the truth that I could not hold back.

In closing, Carter has been, and will be more through legal repercussions, given a very serious lesson. He is, in fact, lucky for not injuring others more. But he does not deserve the very public humiliation he is enduring here.

In closing, I hope and believe Carter has learned his lesson. And I'm sad that his actions have reflected so poorly on his alma mater, but this is an exception, not the rule. Do a quick search of Menlo on this site, and you'll learn otherwise.


Posted by Student, a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:05 am

Web Link

CLEARLY it is the fault of the Menlo value system.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:09 am

Thank you Menlo Alum for putting into words the thoughts so many of us are having.


Posted by lessons learned, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 9, 2011 at 8:26 am

It is fascinating to read the posts of the people who interpret this entire thread as an attack on their school. I expect that your school is well aware of its reputation and may be taking steps to dispel the image that has endured for decades. Props to them.

Note, however, that the thrust of my argument has consistently been that parents should expect their children to work to obtain what they want. Giving your kids whatever they would like (or feel entitled to receive) is a recipe for disaster. If that makes me a "disgusting excuse for a human being" so be it. Suffice to say that it is a parenting approach that appears to be inordinately successful in raising children who grow up to be productive members of society rather than brats with poor impulse control.


Posted by Shelley P, a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Has anyone noticed - these kids have been out of Menlo school and in college for a year, where they have had total independence and freedom. My daughter went to Menlo and yes, while there were some absentee parents and too wild kids, there were plenty of wonderful families of all income levels, as well as a wonderful school education. Bottom line, this could happen to anyone and we should all be happy that nobody was killed and hope that all the kids involved learned a lesson that will prevent something worse happening in the future.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 10, 2011 at 8:52 am

POGO is a registered user.

lessons learned said, "It is fascinating to read the posts of the people who interpret this entire thread as an attack on their school."

Just five quotes:

1. "Menlo is very materialistic, and competitive in terms of spending. If your kid is driving a Corolla to school, the other kids will make fun of him, and it will probably get back to their parents, your fellow VCs or hedge fund managers or whoever it is that you need to impress."

2. "If I ever decide to put my kid in private school, it will be a school that is not status conscious and focuses on turning out good citizens."

3. "Parents around here tend to gravitate to Menlo because it's the Rolex of private schools."

4. "...much as you Menlo apologists choose to deny it, the school has long been associated with competitive materialism, absentee parenting, and excessive privilege."

5. "It is also my anecdotal observation that parents who choose Menlo over some of the other local privates are doing so because they move in social circles that place inordinate value on Menlo. The old boy thing, I guess. That mindset does not contribute to a healty environment for teens..."

Gee, where ever did they get the idea that someone was attacking their school?

Lesson learned.


Posted by albo, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 17, 2011 at 10:57 pm

albo is a registered user.

How cowardly and disgusting for so many of you to anonymously wish the worst on Carter and his family. Don't worry, if it makes you feel better, I'm sure he and his family are already going through hell, as is the other family and their injured son.

Have a little courage and compassion and wish them the best through this hardship, and trust the justice system to deal with consequences.

Try not to be the typical stone-throwing Menlo weenie while this works its way. I for one am thankful the boys were not hurt worse. That would be my first thought as a parent, or neighbor.


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