CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) – Police will increase patrols over the weekend to make sure drivers are not intoxicated while behind the wheel.
Several agencies are standing united against DUI drivers.
“It’s personal for me because of Kent Iwaniec,” state police Sgt. Richard Gamez said.
Iwaniec was young trooper who was killed on his way home from work in 2008 by a drunk and drugged driver.
He’s not alone. The DUI Victims Memorial honors 2,000 lives taken too soon.
“The only mistake they had made – which is a mistake all of us Pennsylvania residents do four to seven times a day – was to get in their vehicle and drive in our communities not knowing there was someone else on the road with complete disregard for their life,” said Stephen Erni, executive director of the Pennsylvania DUI Association.
From 2015 to 2016, Cumberland County saw an increase of 600 DUI cases. A third were drugged drivers, but alcohol is still a major issue. Dr.Dale Dangleben, trauma director at Geisinger Holy Spirit Hospital, said 40 percent of all accidents and 50 percent of trauma-related deaths involve alcohol.
“We’re supposed to be stoic and do this day in day out, but there is a component of this that is human,” Dangleben said. “To see this repeatedly, things that could be prevented, it takes its toll.”
Cumberland County Coroner Charles Hall agreed.
“A lot of people ask me what the hardest part of my job is,” Hall said. “It’s knocking on the door of a family’s home and telling them their loved one is dead.”