Personal Stories Highlight The Toll Of Drunk Driving In Texas

As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, TxDOT is appealing to people to get a sober driver if they've been drinking.

TxDOT is holding events around the state this month where people will share their personal stories on how their lives were changed by a drunk driving accident.

They’ll tell their stories while standing in front of 1,170 Texas flags. Each flag represents a person killed in a drunk driving accident in the state in 2012.  TxDOT’s Mark Cross: 

“Here’s somebody who was affected, and this is the impact it had on their life, and it’s not been the most positive thing for them.”   

Stories and photos are also featured on TxDOT’s Faces of Drunk Driving website

There’s the story of Aaron Pennywell, a 20-year-old man killed by a drunk driver in North Harris County in 2011.  

There’s also the story of Jacqui Saburido. In 1999, Saburido was left disfigured from burns after the car she was in was hit by a drunk driver in Austin. 

“Her image is something that is very stark and startling to some people after the crash, and she was very glad to share her story and help educate people.” 

“Here in Harris County, the number one reason why people lose their lives is because of impaired driving.”

That’s DPS Sergeant John Sampa. He reminds drivers that the Fourth of July weekend is a “No Refusal” period.

“A person that refuses to give a breath test will have their blood drawn as a result of their impaired driving.”

TxDOT says last Fourth of July, there were 133 alcohol related crashes around the state.


Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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