All Kansas Cities

Down but Not Gone

Along with the good news about the decrease in alcohol-related deaths in Kansas, there were at least two other articles from around the same time about alcohol-related accidents. It is good to note that while there were 138 such deaths in 2010, there were only 76 in 2011. The Kansas Department of Transportation attributes this large percentage to the new interlock device law, part of our state’s getting tough on drunk driving. The interlock device, in case you haven’t heard of them, gets attached to a steering wheel and the driver has to breathe alcohol-free breath into it in order to start the vehicle. The device costs about $500 which the driver with the DUI record has to pay.

Unfortunately there were still 76 deaths. That’s 76 people gone from among us and 76 groups of family members and friends and co-workers who had to grieve the loss of their loved one. If you figure an average of ten people who feel affected by a person’s death, that’s almost 800 people whose lives have been changed forever. Someone lost a child, or a father or a mother or a sister or a brother or a friend. Someone’s business was changed by the loss of a worker.

Over in Wichita there’s another life changed forever. Fortunately, though, not by a death. A 26-year-old driver was speeding northbound on Gold St. with a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old in the car with him. Police believe him to have been under the influence of alcohol. He crashed into a parked car just after midnight. The children were taken to St. Francis Hospital for treatment, where the 4-year-old was found to have a skull fracture and the 2-year-old had minor injuries. The driver was arrested for aggravated child endangerment, aggravated battery, DUI and other traffic charges, according to Wichita Police.

One can hope that this driver will be scared silly by what he did to his children and by what he almost did to them.

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