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Effects of Drunk Driving Felt Long After Accident

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RALEIGH — If you're heading out of town this holiday weekend, you won't find any deadlier roads than in Wake County. AAA of the Carolinas says there were 64 traffic-related fatalities in Wake County last year, and drunk driving had a huge impact on the rankings.

Of those 64 deaths on Wake County roads, 22 of them were alcohol-related. That means Wake County ranks number one in overall traffic fatalities and number two in drunk-driving fatalities. Some say the statistics are much more than just numbers. Many of the accidents could have been prevented before anyone got behind the wheel.

"I was very disappointed to hear about the statistic of 22 deaths," Judy Wallace ofMother's Against Drunk Driving (MADD)explained. "[It] is a deep loss to victims and their families."

Wallace says she's still living with the affects of an accident caused by a drunk driver who pulled out in front of her nine years ago. She looks to the judicial system for answers to the drunk driving problem.

"I think we could use some improvement," said Wallace. "I think the sentences are too lax. I think people get off for this crime."

Prosecutors say that's what happened in the case of three-year-oldMegan Dail. She was killed when habitual drunk driverTimothy Blackwellsmashed into her family's van. Although that accident happened in Durham instead of in Wake County, Judy Wallace says Megan Dail is one of the faces behind the statistics that shouldn't be forgotten.

"I want them to think about the impact, think about these 22 people who have lost their lives, how it affected their families," admitted Wallace. "I don't want anymore Wake County citizens to suffer the pain that these families have suffered."

The AAA study also looked at volume of traffic and numbers of accidents. Although more people died on Wake County roads, our streets are the eight most dangerous in North Carolina. This is the first year Wake County has ever made AAA's top ten dangerous counties list.

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Landra Booker, Reporter
John Cox, Photographer
Kerrie Hudzinski, Web Editor

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