Local News

DUI Checkpoint Brings Reality Of Drunken Driving Up-Close For Teens

Posted March 26, 2006 10:09 a.m. EST

— Look ahead, and you've got prom season around the corner. Look back, and you might remember the accident that shocked the community around Wakefield High involving teens, driving, and possibly alcohol. Now authorities are hoping to prevent future tragedies.

The accident left students grieving their loss, and parents shaking their heads.

"We just never never know how far our children want to take it," said parent Shelley Jackson. "Children want to take it to the limits and they don't fear death."

Investigators say four Wakefield High School students flew off the U.S. 64 bypass bridge when they took the curve at more than 100 miles per hour. They say that alcohol may have been a factor.

"We live very close to where the accident happened, and drive by it every morning," said parent Dexter Tart.

Tart took his concern for his 16-year-old son, Josh, a step further. He came with his him to a DWI checkpoint.

"You hear everybody talking about, just in the halls at school sometimes, people talking about going over 100 and driving crazy," said Josh Tart.

It takes a lot to counteract peer pressure.

"I think it's important to see it firsthand," said Dexter Tart. "It puts a different aspect of realism in it."

And the reality was a thorough search by the K-9 unit for drugs in one vehicle. Josh also watched as a sobriety test left the driver in cuffs, suspected of drinking and driving, as well as the arrest of a teen just three years older than he is.

"I think this might have an impact with these kids," said Wake County Sgt. Richard Stone. "A lot of these kids knew those kids that were killed in that accident. And they know the reason behind it."

In all, 83 people were charged with various violations, including 14 for DWI.