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Survivor of Suicide Bid Warns of Alcohol Use

February 05, 1989|Associated Press

TUOLUMNE CITY, Calif. — Imagine how strange and surprised Tim Moyle must have felt two months ago, still groggy from all that scotch but able to move around and even talk on the telephone, right after shooting himself in the head.

Moyle, 22, is blind in the eye that was nearly blown out of his head by the .22-caliber bullet. He has blurred vision in the other eye. His sinuses were destroyed. He has no sense of smell.

"By the width of a bobbie pin," his mother says, there was no brain damage.

Moyle not only still has his brain, along with his friendly demeanor and gift of gab, but he appears determined and positive about using them all.

Root of Problem

He talked to students at Sonora High School about his life in the fast lane, his suicide attempt and what he regards as the root of his problems--alcohol.

"The kids were enthralled," said Carol Avey, the teacher in a class Moyle visited. "Every time he paused, there was another question. They were asking graphic and personal questions, and he was giving candid answers."

Larry Maucere, another teacher and school board member, said Moyle gets through to students because "he's street-wise and he talks their language."

"I just B.S. with them like I did in school," Moyle said. "I like talking. And with my eye the way it is, they can see what alcohol did."

Moyle hopes to get invitations to talk to young people elsewhere. For transportation and room and board, he said, he will go anywhere.

He also wants to open a local youth entertainment club and is trying to negotiate a lease for it in east Sonora.

"It's not going to be a stoner haven," he said. "No drugs, no alcohol, inside the building or out. We'll have a dress code, people will pay to get in, and it will be so much fun they'll want to keep coming back."

Attracted to Alcohol

He said such a club might have attracted him when he was a Sonora High student. As it was, his favorite attraction was booze.

Moyle was outgoing, happy and popular in school. He played on a championship football team, and his premature bald spot made it easy for him to buy liquor for himself and friends.

When he was a junior, his parents bought him a Datsun 300ZX sports car, which didn't hurt his popularity any, nor his appetite for excitement.

"I'd go to Tahoe and gamble every chance I got," he said. "If I wanted to do something, I did it."

Until recently, he got away with it. He held a job at a feed store, and another one part-time serving papers for private investigator Dennis Raymond. He liked his work. He was engaged to be married. Life was great.

Then his fiancee broke up with him. He lived with a friend for a while, and in late September moved in with his mother and stepfather, Barbara and Bill Tolar of Tuolumne City.

Decided on Suicide

The Tolars had gone out of town Sunday, Oct. 2. Moyle kicked back with a fifth of scotch. He watched the 49ers beat the Lions on television, went through about half of the bottle and decided to kill himself.

"I never got depressed when I drank before," he said. "This time--it was weird--something went click. It was like I was getting back at my girlfriend."

Moyle loaded the pistol and called his closest friend to tell him his plan. The friend tried to talk him out of it, but by now this was like a trip to Tahoe. Moyle had decided to do something and he did it.

But with second thoughts in his head, and also a bullet, Moyle called 911. The ambulance arrived about the same time as the friend. Moyle was flown to a hospital in Modesto and from there to another one in San Francisco. Surgeons removed the slug, and he was home again within two weeks, making plans for the rest of his life.

They don't include alcohol.

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