Thursday, April 29, 1999

Lt. governor joins watch for DUIs


Clermont aims to lower rate

BY TOM O'NEILL
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BATAVIA — If you're out tonight and show signs of drunken driving, the state police car that pulls you over might be carrying Ohio Lt. Gov. Maureen O'Connor.

        Ms. O'Connor, who also serves as director of the state Department of Public Safety, will be riding with a patrol unit of the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Batavia post from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

        Her visit culminates alcohol-awareness month, and was prompted in part by a series of DUI-related crashes in the county, state police Lt. Paul Hermes said Wednesday.

        Of the nine fatal crashes on public roads in Clermont so far this year, six involved or are suspected of involving alcohol. Those nine crashes have claimed 11 lives, including three members of the Shannon family of Ohio Township: Rod ney and Tammy Shannon and their 11-year-old son, Christopher.

        The suspect in that crash, Charles Gumbert, 38, of New Richmond, has multiple DUI convictions. Last year, 20 percent of road fatalities in the county were alcohol-related, state police said.

        Police are concerned not just with headline-making repeat offenders but all people who drink and drive.

        “It's the same message, over and over,” Lt. Hermes said. “If you drink, don't drive. If you see someone drinking, get their keys away. The life you save might be that of a loved one, or yourself.”

        Statewide, troopers arrested 24,667 people for driving under the influence last year.

        To report someone who appears to be driving drunk, call (800) GRAB-DUI to be connected to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

       



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