DUI collision claims champion surfer’s life - Sovereign Health Group
Articles / Blog
02-03-17 Category: Addiction, Substance Abuse

Long-beach native Sophia Tiaré Bartlow, 26, an accomplished surfer well known in the surfing community was killed in a car crash on the North Shore of Oahu on Jan. 28, 2016. The authorities suspect the driver, her boyfriend, who may have been drunk under influence of alcohol, was responsible for her death. It was reported by locals that he crossed oncoming lanes and crashed into a large tree in the front yard of a residence.

According to Waialua, Hawaii law enforcement, Bartlow was unbuckled and riding passenger in the truck on Saturday around 10:15 p.m. when the 35-year old fellow surfer Sage Candelaria lost control while speeding. The truck hit the tree on the passenger side impacting her. Both sustained serious injuries but Bartlow was critical and rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately, she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Candelaria was arrested for first-degree negligent homicide, DUI and driving without a license. Though he was later released, the investigation will continue.

The champion surfer

Bartlow, a University of Hawaii alumna, surfed on the West Coast during summer months and lived in Hawaii during the winters. She won countless longboard contests, was a decorated high school varsity letterman surfer and hall of fame athlete at Woodrow Wilson Classical High School in Long Beach.

According to the Long Beach Post, Bartlow was a national and world-class stand-up paddle (SUP) surfer and racer, was nominated for the 2015 SUP Woman of the Year, was the 2014 U.S. SUP Tour national champion and the U.S. SUP Surfing longboard and shortboard champion. She was both the Hawaii and West Coast state shortboard champion and the California state champion for the longboard.

She came from a family of acclaimed surfers. Her mother was the founder of the Women’s International Surfing Association and was also the inaugural world champion in 1976 while her grandmother was a junior Olympics swimming champion.

Wearing seatbelts and driving sober can save lives

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at last count, in 2014, more than half of the young adults who died in vehicle crashes were not wearing seatbelts. Recent reports also revealed that DUI fatalities are rising, after a 10-year decline.

It is important to understand that driving carefully is a responsibility and should be done only when one is sober. Driving under the influence of illicit substances or without proper precautions such as seat belts can only result in disasters and can be dangerous not only for the person driving but others on the road as well.

Seek treatment for addiction

There is no such thing as “coasting home.” Our lives and that of our loved ones are precious. If you often find yourself telling others that you can “make it home” despite being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, on more days than you’d care to admit, call our 24/7 helpline to learn how we can help you recover, with treatment plans customized to your condition and your needs.

About the author

Kristin Currin-Sheehan is a Sovereign Health writer and her intriguing storytelling has been featured with Sovereign Health, KPBS TV/FM, FOX5 News in San Diego and NPR. Her illustrative and relatable approach to digital and broadcast news bridges businesses and consumers, news and community. For more information and other inquiries about this media, contact the author at news@sovhealth.com.

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