Don't Drink and Drive: North Texas Leaders, Law Enforcement Make Plea with Drivers Ahead of Holidays

With the start of the holiday season right around the corner, local leaders and law enforcement are once again pleading with the public to not drink and drive.

Last year, 1,024 people were killed statewide in alcohol-related crashes. Ninety two of those deaths occurred between Thanksgiving Day and New Year's Day, when DWI incidents tend to spike.

"Sometimes my prosecutors say to me, 'Can I try [some other case] besides a DWI?'" said Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson. "But those are the cases that are coming through my office. So we want to say to the people of Dallas County, 'Don't drink and drive.'"

The Tarrant County District Attorney's Office reports similar case loads -- noting that in 2018 they are prosecuting an average of 500 DWI cases per month.

"If you think DWI is not a big deal, let me tell you it is," said Riley Shaw, who is Seputy Chief of the Criminal Division at the Tarrant County DA's Office. "It matters and lives are at stake. And it makes me angry that we're still having to have this discussion."

Perhaps few people understand those sentiments better than Prisca Patrick.

On March 9, 2007 her older brother John Michael Patrick and his girlfriend were driving to the movies when a drunken driver slammed into their car and instantly killed them both.

Police told her family that the driver's BAC was three times the legal limit.

"It, of course, destroyed us," said Patrick, who lives in Dallas County.

Patrick said it wasn't until last year -- a full 10 years after the fatal crash -- that she and her family found the strength to put up a Christmas tree during the holidays.

They're still reeling from the loss.

But now, she channels that pain into the volunteer work she does with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, an organization that advocates for drivers to make responsible choices when it comes to alcohol.

"To make sure that no one feels the pain that my family has felt for the past 11 years -- that's my mission," said Patrick.

She shares her brother's story wherever she goes, in hopes that it will impact someone on an emotional level and convince them to use a designated driver, a taxi, or ride sharing service whenever they drink.

AAA Texas also believes the most effective way to make change is to affect people at their cores.

Ahead of Christmas and New Year's Eve, they'll put several of their wreckers out on North Texas highways and roads -- all of them carrying vehicles that were involved in DWI crashes, as well as signs that read "#WhatAlcoholSays."

Contact Us