Remembrance held for victims of DUI crashes - WSMV News 4

Remembrance held for victims of DUI crashes

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Law enforcement officials claimed they're waging a war on drunk driving Wednesday during a remembrance ceremony for victims killed in DUI crashes.

At the ceremony, mother Mary Paige said her only child, Jessica, wanted to save lives and was studying to be a nurse.

"She was 24 years old and had been married for seven weeks to a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq," said Paige. "She was a loving, giving soul full of life and joy."

In October 2008, Jessica and best friend Emily were making a turn when their car was hit by a drunk driver.

"Jessie died at the scene in her best friend's lap," said Paige. "Thankfully, Emily was not seriously injured physically, but she will suffer the emotional damage of that night the rest of her life."

According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation, there have been 205 Tennessee fatalities in 2013 due to impaired driving, 101 fewer than last year. Law enforcement officials said improvements could be due to being proactive, with 5,911 DUI arrests made so far this year.

In addition, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security is choosing specific counties this holiday season for a new no refusal policy.

"Under the policy, if someone is stopped and we have reasonable suspicion that individual is driving under the influence and that individual refuses to take a breathalyzer test, we will seek a search warrant to draw blood," said Commissioner Bill Gibbons.

As for Paige, she said the best advice she can give is for families to have honest talks about moderation and designated drivers and to always be on the defensive behind the wheel.

"I think that is the ultimate reason I can get up and tell about Jessica," said Paige. "If it can open that message in families, then I've got my message across."

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