Statewide DUI campaign to kick off next week

CLARK

CLARK

By JB Clark

Daily Journal

NEW ALBANY – Sherrel Clark held up pictures of her daughter’s heavily damaged vehicle while she spoke to law enforcement officers during Thursday’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign kickoff.

“The guy driving the other vehicle was 20 years old and had a .30 blood-alcohol content,” she said. “He hit them head-on, went over the top of their car and flipped and skidded. His car came to a stop more than 300 feet from where they collided.”

Clark’s daughter, Tori Cox Plunkett, was pregnant with twins in April 2006 when she was killed by a drunken driver.

Clark’s daughter and future grandchildren weren’t the only family members she lost to drunken driving; 18 years before her daughter’s death, her brother, Marty Cox, was hit by a drunken driver and killed.

Clark, the victim impact panel program coordinator for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, is working to influence judges to sentence all DUI offenders to spend time with a victim impact panel.

“The panel is made of people like me whose lives have been impacted by drunk drivers,” she said.

In the meantime she is asking officers to do everything they can to keep intoxicated drivers off the road.

“My whole purpose is to try to convince people, if they’re going to drink, to not get behind the wheel of a car or anything with a motor,” she told the officers during the kickoff luncheon in New Albany.

Aug. 15 marks the beginning of this year’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign, an increased enforcement period that will run until Sept. 1.

In 2013, Lee County was fourth in the state and led Northeast Mississippi in DUI arrests with 1,147, almost twice as many as the next county in the region. The top three counties in the state are Harrison, Jackson and Rankin.

Statewide, alcohol-related car crashes claimed the lives of 179 people in 2012, 19 of those in Northeast Mississippi. Statistics are not available for 2013.

jb.clark@journalinc.com

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DUI ARRESTS

2013 DUI arrests by county

Lee – 1,147

Oktibbeha – 695

Lafayette – 643

Pontotoc – 361

Alcorn – 348

Monroe – 320

Union – 302

Chickasaw – 216

Calhoun – 203

Marshall – 200

Chickasaw – 216

Itawamba – 141

Prentiss – 137

Tippah – 110

Tishomingo – 101

Clay – 97

Benton – 27

  • Winston Smith

    I’m all for stopping drunk drivers, but I hope they don’t throw up a bunch of roadblocks. Nothing makes me feel more like I’m living in a George Orwell novel than driving thru a police checkpoint.

    • user

      They will, and they won’t just be checking to see if your sober. They will intimidate you and try to do an illegal search if one little thing looks suspicious.

  • the_rocket

    Oh, they’ll check for DUI all right. And inspection sticker. And Insurance. And registration. And tag. And whether all your lights work. And whether you’ve got something that they deem “suspicious” on the back seat. And hey, since your inspection sticker went out last month, how about they run your license through their database to see what you been up to for the last 5 years? Hey you’ve got nothing to worry about as long as your not up to something. That is the principle this country is founded on, right? Guilty until proven innocent.

    How about someone at the DJ pretend to be a real journalist and get us the number of non DUI tickets issued at one of these “checkpoints” compared to the actual DUI arrest?