Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Remove Intoxicated Drivers (RID) held its inaugural Victims Candlelight Vigil with a special “Safety Tree” dedication on Thursday, November 16th to honor the memories of Dutchess County victims of intoxicated driving crashes.
Friends and family gathered at the Dutchess County Department of Public Works’ Highway Management Division Building in Poughkeepsie as the names of the 46 victims of DWI crashes in Dutchess County since 1981 were read and a “Safety Tree” was dedicated in their memory.
Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro said, “As a community, we must always remember those innocent lives that have been lost to impaired driving. This ‘Safety Tree’ will serve as a living memorial to those who became the victims of irresponsible actions by those who chose to drink and drive. Each of these fatalities were 100 percent preventable, and we all must make correct decisions to ensure no more names are added to the list of the fallen.”
The event took place less than a week before the start of the annual Thanksgiving STOP-DWI crackdown campaign, which runs from Wednesday, November 22nd through Sunday, November 26th. During the crackdown period, law enforcement agencies across Dutchess County will participate in a county-wide program to catch impaired drivers. The Thanksgiving crackdown campaign is intended to discourage people from driving impaired, promote awareness, and keep roadways safe.
The upcoming crackdown campaign includes coordinated, multi-jurisdictional sobriety checkpoints and targeted saturation patrols throughout Dutchess County and includes the assignment of Drug Recognition Experts to assist in the identification and apprehension of those impaired by drugs other than alcohol. Motorists who encounter what they suspect is an impaired driver should call 911 with a description of the vehicle, location and direction of travel. The enforcement effort is administered by the Dutchess County STOP-DWI program through grant funding awarded from the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation.
Dutchess County STOP-DWI Coordinator William C. Johnson said, “The act of driving while intoxicated is a choice that can have life-altering repercussions – both for the motorist who chooses to drink and drive, and for innocent drivers with whom he shares the road. Motorists who make the decision to drink and drive in Dutchess County, will be apprehended and prosecuted, as law enforcement throughout our county remains dedicated to safeguarding our streets.”
Founded in 1981, Dutchess County RID seeks to support and enhance the efforts of the County to fight against impaired driving by being involved in activities which promote public awareness and education, and provide support for the victims and the victims’ families. Dutchess County RID exists to deter drunken driving, and the binge-drinking that proceeds it, as well as to help victims regain hope and justice in their lives. Dutchess County RID provides emotional support to people who have suffered losses in DWI crashes and educates the public about the impact of abusive alcohol use on life and health.