Tragedy can teach lessons

By Chelle Delaney: QCS Associate Publishe

On May 19, alcohol claimed another victim.

But this DWI was different than most we read about. Augustine “Augie” Montiel drowned while intoxicated. And he was only 12 years old.

The Tucumcari fifth grader’s body was found in an irrigation canal along Charles Avenue. His blood-alcohol level, Police Chief Larry Ham said, was .13 or “pretty close to double what would be illegal for an adult.”

Police said Augie and a handful of other very minor kids enlisted the help of two adults so they could party.
Fred Jaramillo III, 23, was arrested and accused of buying the alcohol for the children. Police say Crystal L. Cochran, 18, provided a place for the teens’ party, her apartment at Quay Apartments.

After the party, Augie and a friend went swimming in the irrigation canal, where witnesses saw Augie get sucked in by an undercurrent. His body was found the next day.

Maybe, just maybe, the drowning wouldn’t have happened if we were not so accepting of alcohol in our community.
Aren’t we all somewhat responsible for this stupid, stupid, stupid tragedy?

As grownups — in this town and across the country — we don’t set a proper example for our kids when it comes to booze.

“You can’t drink now,” we tell our children, “but when you’re grown you can enjoy all the bad habits that we have.”

Why can’t we persuade our youngsters that not drinking can be a rewarding goal?

All of us could be persuaders, telling our children of the hazards and the high cost – to our bodies and minds – of substance abuse.

All of us who are in a position to influence children should use that position to make a difference.

Mostly, we can set a good example.

Chelle Delaney is associate publisher of the Quay County Sun. Contact her at 461-1952 or by e-mail: