Mental Health Issues Coupled with Drug or Alcohol Abuse is a Serious Concern

The National Alliance on Mental Illness cites that 1 of every 5 adults in the US suffers from some form of mental illness. This amounts to almost 44 MILLION people!  Within is group, NAMI estimates 1 in every 25 adults (about 10 million people) have a serious mental illness. Defined as psychological illness that interferes with everyday life and mundane life activities, serious mental illnesses have little support or rehabilitation options in our community. Unfortunately, the more prevalent these cases become, the more instances of tragedy follow.

In May, a 26 year old Navy Veteran drove his vehicle onto the sidewalk in New York City’s popular Times Square, killing 1 and injuring dozens of other pedestrians.

Unfortunately, Rojas’ story is all to familiar for thousands of Americans. A loved one is unable to function in society, often due to anger and mental health issues – Exacerbated by drug or alcohol abuse.  In this specific case, Mr. Rojas was also suspected to be high on synthetic drugs or marijuana laced with PCP – both powerful and dangerous drugs that are prone to causing paranoia, violent outbursts and even temporary psychosis.

Repeat ‘Offenders’ are True Dangers to All of Us

Mr. Rojas allegedly was motivated by voices in his head that told him to kill innocent people. He also admitted that he thought he would subsequently be shot and killed by officers. 18 Year old Alyssa Elsman paid the ultimate price.  I cannot even imagine how horrible it it for a family to embark on a vacation only to return with their eldest daughter in a casket. This tragedy gained national headlines and our hearts ached for the family – yet we have very little in place to prevent something like this from happening again.

Richard Rojas has a long history of mental health issues – Many go as far as to say there were apparent and untreated issues in his time in the US Navy. Furthermore, he had two recent DUI arrests in the state of NY, including one in which he was doing almost TWICE the legal speed limit.  Another arrest occurred for menacing, after he threatened someone over a notary request/  This should be have been yet another red flag. Mr. Rojas is the prime example of someone that should not have a driver’s license.

While an individual like Mr. Rojas cannot have his license suspended as a result of erratic behavior, the accompanying drug or alcohol abuse is often a way to prevent the individual from being on the roadways.

The System is Broken – Enacting Change is Essential

Who is to say that an individual high on drugs or drunk on alcohol is any more or less dangerous than an individual with serious psychological health issues, and an inaccurate perception of reality?

In today’s culture, we have very little in place to prevent someone from doing exactly what Mr. Rojas did – murdering an innocent victim.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident or any other type of incident, contact my offices today.  We can support you, and guide you through the process – and fight for your right to fair compensation.

I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at or call at 877.944.4373.


Article Name
Mental Illness Dangers and Motor Vehicle Accidents
Texting while driving, drinking and driving, drugs and driving... all result in tragic consequences. Now add mental illness to the mix and it is a recipe for tragedy. We can tell our friends and family to avoid texting and drinking while driving.... but how we do help those we suspect have a mental illness and are on the edge? We all know help for the mentally ill is insufficient. This insufficiency keeps the mentally ill unstable and us in harms way for a serious accident to occur.
Car Accidents