Increased Patrols Planned In Oklahoma For Labor Day Weekend

Friday, August 21st 2009, 4:02 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- Over the next two weeks you'll see a lot more law enforcement on roads across Oklahoma.  Officers will be cracking down on drunk drivers as we get closer to the Labor Day weekend.  Every year, officers talk about the dangers of driving drunk, but this year, they picked a unique location to help get their point across.

Officers from a dozen law enforcement agencies in the Tulsa-area gathered in one spot to talk about the dangers of drinking and driving.  That spot was at Floral Haven Cemetery.

"The actions taken by a drunk driver often result in violence and devastation that end in the burial of our loved ones," said Broken Arrow Police Sgt. Ed Ferguson.

Joining the officers was Melissa Brandon.  Ten years ago, her 15-year-old son, Bobby, was killed after getting into a car with another teen who had been drinking.

"When the trooper came to my door, I knew what was coming even though it still seems so unreal. Because I can walk in his bedroom and I can still smell his cologne and still see his clothes on the floor," said Melissa Brandon.

Officers hope to prevent other families from going through the same hurt and heartache.  Over the next two weeks, through Labor Day Weekend, they'll step up DUI enforcement.  Federal grants will pay for saturation patrols in Tulsa County.

Nationwide, nearly 13,000 people each year are killed by drunk drivers.

"To put that number in perspective, that would be equivalent to 33 jumbo jets crashing and killing everybody on board every year," said Broken Arrow Police Sgt. Ed Ferguson.

During the crackdown, 75 to 100 officers area-wide will solely focus on finding and arresting drunk drivers.

"We're just asking people to please think twice and it's OK to go out and have a good time.  But, when you think about drinking and driving, it's not a laughing matter," Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Antonio Porter.

As for Melissa Brandon, she says even 10 years later, she wakes up every day feeling like something is missing in her life.

"To think that he died flying out of a vehicle with the vehicle rolling over him.  It breaks my heart," said Melissa Brandon.

Officers say everyone can play a big part in their efforts to prevent drunken driving deaths by calling in when someone is driving erratically.