COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Franklin County DUI Task Force is urging people to have a safe St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
The weekend is one of the more popular times of the year to drink, and members of the task force are sending out a reminder they share throughout the year: do not drink and drive.
“As you’re celebrating this year, have a plan. This is a time a lot of people like to drink a little, party a little bit, but do not get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve had too much to drink. Have a plan, have a designated driver,” said Sheriff Dallas Baldwin of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is one of the members of the task force. Laura Seger, a MADD Volunteer, spoke at the event.
“It’s 100% preventable, it’s just making a good judgment call because when you start drinking the first thing to go is your judgment,” she said.
As she spoke, a picture of her son, Joey, was in front of her. Joey was 18 years old when he was killed by a driver in an OVI-related crash in 2010. Another driver hit him head-on. She was under the influence of drugs, according to Seger.
“He was 6 foot 3 and he was 320 pounds, he was the most absolute biggest gentle giant you could ever meet,” Seger said about her son. “He’d give you the last $5 dollars in his pocket and the shirt off his back if he thought it’d make a difference.”
She shares her son’s story hoping it encourages others to make responsible decisions. DUI checkpoints will be set up in central Ohio this weekend. Another one of the tools law enforcement will be using is the Columbus Division of Police’s DUI Interceptor, a van that responds to certain scenes or situations and allows officers to conduct breathalyzer tests on-site instead of at a station.
“It allows those officers to clear up the scene quicker and allows them to get back into the community they serve a lot quicker,” said Sgt. Adam Barton, OVI Countermeasures Sergeant with the Columbus Division of Police.
The division has been using the van for about two and a half years. Barton says the wrap, which was paid for with grant money, was just put on this week. It’s meant to deter people from drinking and driving.
“The whole purpose for them is to see this and think twice about driving impaired, have a plan, have a designated driver, use a ride share, don’t drink and drive,” said Sgt. Barton.
Central Ohio Safe Rides shared the following Lyft discount codes for St. Patrick’s Day.
- City of Dublin: DUBSPD23
- Fado Irish Pub in Easton: FADOSPD23
- Byrnes Irish Pub in Grandview: BYRNESSPD23
- O on Lane, Little Bar, Library Bar, Horshoe: OSUBARSSPD23
- Bridge Park Pub Crawl on 3/18: DUBCRAWL23