Tarrant County Website to Post Names of Alleged Drunken Drivers

Names of drivers arrested on DWI charges to be posted on Tarrant County's website

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Tarrant County will name and shame drivers arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving this New Year's weekend.

    The district attorney's office will post on its website the names and ages of drivers arrested on suspicion of drunken driving between Friday night and Monday morning.

    "This is just our attempt to find one more way to motivate people," Assistant District Attorney Richard Alpert said. "People who take pride in their reputation perhaps would not want like to have it on the website. People that know people who have a problem perhaps don't want to have their names on a website. We're hoping that will deter people."

    The holiday weekend is a "no-refusal" weekend. The district attorney's office says such weekends continue to work. Alpert said prosecutions are successful in the high 90 percent range, and there has been just one DWI-related fatality in the last six years of the program.

    Tarrant County Hopes to Deter Drunken Driving

    [DFW] Tarrant County Hopes to Deter Drunken Driving
    Tarrant County hopes its decision to publish online the names of people arrested on suspicion of DWI will deter drivers from drinking and driving this holiday weekend.

    But that's not good enough, he said.

    "It was our hope when we started this program ... the word that this isn't the county to risk being arrested would work to reduce the number of arrests, and it just hasn't worked the way we wanted it to," Alpert said at a Thursday morning press conference.

    There are still 5,000 to 6,000 arrests in Tarrant County each year.

    Criminal defense attorney Jim Moore said the Tarrant County's attempt at public humiliation is pointless because it is only posting names, not mugshots.

    "I think a photograph might be a deterrent, but without that, who's going to read it?" he said.

    Moore has defended hundreds of people charged with driving while intoxicated.

    "It's just not a big deal," he said. "A lot of lawyer friends have had them and, no, I don't think it's going to be a scarlet letter, so to speak."

    The county said it would not post mugshots for logistical reasons.

    "If this works successfully, we're not ruling anything out for the future," Alpert said. "We just won't have the time to do that this time."

    Dalworthington Gardens Police Chief Bill Waybourne said adding any tool is a good idea.

    "Anything we can do to get people in Tarrant County to not drive drunk, I think, is a good idea," he said.

    Kevin and Kristin Schor, whose 16-year-old son, Trevor, was hit and killed by a drunken driver, support Tarrant County's plan to post the names of people arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.

    "The people that are on that website are going to be mortified," Kevin Schor said.

    Trevor Schor died four years ago this month.

    "We were at a Mavs game and got that horrible phone call: 'Your son has been in a car accident, and you need to get here immediately,'" said his mother, Kristin Schor.

    By the time the Schors got to the hospital, their son was dead.

    "Unfortunately, there is going to be someone sitting in our shoes next week," Kristin Schor said.

    The Schors say the county's effort is worth it if the fear of being publicly humiliated deters one person who had too many drinks from getting behind the wheel.

    "What they're doing on this website -- every little bit helps, maybe they save one or two lives," Kevin Schor said. "The problem, you never know which lives you save."

    Police departments across Tarrant County will have extra patrols this holiday weekend. Fort Worth police will have extra traffic officers on duty thanks to grant funding.

    Capt. Brian Sudan said people going out to drink need to find alternative ways to get home.

    "Take a taxi home," he said. "There's plenty of options available, so don't be a statistic and don't cause injury."

    Alpert said Tarrant County will be the only county in Texas publishing the names of drivers suspected of DWI. But he said he hopes there won't too many names on the list.

    "If no one is arrested and the website is empty, it will be a great day in Tarrant County," he said.