JACKSON, Miss.- Officials from the Office of Highway Safety and the Mississippi Highway Patrol joined together at the Agriculture Museum in Jackson to announce the enforcement of the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” initiative.
With the holidays upon us, Mississippi law enforcement is reminding you to stay off the roads if you’ve been drinking. Mississippi Highway Patrol (MHP) officers will be on the roads looking specifically for drunk drivers.
“Beginning December 16 and continuing into the New Year, you will see stepped-up enforcement watching closely for anyone who is driving impaired,” said Lt. Col. Randy Ginn, Cheif of the Uniform Division, MHP. “We want to keep our roads safe for holiday travelers, so we will have zero tolerance for drunk driving.”
Last year, 162 Mississippians died as a result of alcohol-related crashes. In just December, 6,561 people were injured in accidents.
Terry Estes of Natchez lost his daughter, Hailey, to a drunk driver in 1996 was in attendance.
Hailey, who was 19 at the time and a freshman at Ole Miss, and her friend, Melinda Sue Carlson, were hit by the driver of a fire truck. Former Natchez fire captain Bobby Jack Stutzman was under the influence when he hit their vehicle, killing both girls instantly.
Also in attendance were George Guider and Yolanda Bolls. George’s wife was killed in 2012 by a drunk driver.
“Keep your faith. Understand that it’s God’s plan for that to happen for a reason and you have to be strong about it. You have to support activities like this right here because that’s the only way it’s going to cut down,” said Guider. “I think we are doing a good job right now of trying to combat it, we won’t defeat it all, but the more we can take off the streets the better the streets will be.”
Bolls’ daughter, Krista Foster, was killed by an impaired driver in 2014 in Vicksburg.
“There are no words really, because we don’t get over it,” said Bolls.”Daily our babies are dying and we have to live with it. We have to deal with it.”
When asked what they would say to someone considering drinking and driving, Bolls and Guider both said “Don’t do it, it just isn’t worth it.”
“This is a time for families, and ought to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ so we will do what it takes to help save lives by keeping our roads safe,” said Helen Porter, Interim Director, Miss. Office of Highway Safety. “If you choose to drive impaired, not only will you risk your safety and that of others, but you will also face the legal consequences.”