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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – Hours before New Year’s Eve festivities even begin, South Florida officers and troopers are on increased patrol.
For the first time, law enforcement from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties come together at the Florida Highway Patrol district station in Davie to spread a unified message.
Major Robert Chandler with FHP shared a scenario that every officer in the room has been forced to go through.
“The troopers explain that unfortunately, there was a wrong-way driver that hit their son’s vehicle this morning,” said Major Chandler. “And that their son and his friend did not survive. However, the wrong-way driver did survive.”
Heather Geronemus, Vice Chair for the National Board of Directors for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), knows all too well what that’s like.
She lost her father to a drunk driver in 2009.
“That person continued to drive and left my father for dead in Brickell,” said Geronemus, holding back tears. “The only way I can visit my father, in times of celebration or times of sadness, is in the cemetery.”
Major Chandler was hesitant to share statistics relating to DUIs at the press conference, saying lives are more than statistics.
“That’s someone life,” explained Major Chandler. “What happened in the past is not what’s going to happen tonight.”
Major Chandler added that the goal would be zero deaths related to DUIs.
“Another goal is zero arrests related to DUI tonight or tomorrow morning,” said Major Chandler. “But I don’t believe that’ll happen unfortunately.”
“Please in memory of my father, Dr. Robert Geronemus,” pleaded Geronemus. “Spend many, many years with your families.”
AAA offers free transportation for drivers and their vehicles, even for non-AAA members.
The number to call is (855) 2-TOW-2-GO or (855) 286-9246.
Some areas like Broward County have their own free services. SAVE-A-LIFE or SAL’s Towing offers a similar service for anywhere in the county.