Insiders: Repeat DUI Offenders

Insiders: Repeat DUI Offenders
Posted at 5:00 PM, Jan 19, 2015
and last updated 2017-12-13 05:25:12-05

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MOULTRIE, Ga. (WTXL)-- When you get behind the wheel, you take a risk because you are sharing the road with drunk drivers.

According to the Georgia Mothers Against Drunk Driving the most recent numbers show more than 30 percent of DUI convictions are repeat offenses in the state.

MADD would like to see those numbers go down. 

"There's people sitting in there that's fixing to speak that's been affected by DUI, by an accident, or a loved one who has died in an accident and you have the gall or the gumption or the nerve to show up to this meeting intoxicated," said Moultrie Police Department Officer Sandra Matthews. This is not a game."

It's an unlikely place to show up after drinking alcohol.

It's not the first time 30-year-old Alfredo Lara was busted on an alcohol-related charge.

"You are not allowed to show up at these meetings intoxicated," said Officer Matthews.

"I didn't know," said Lara.

"No," said Matthews. "You knew that."

Lara is charged with public intoxication after police say he blew a .082, as he showed up for a court-ordered victim impact panel.

Gary Robinson who organizes these meetings says it's a slap in the face when someone walks in with alcohol on their breath.

"It makes me mad," said Robinson. "They don't have any respect for the victims who are here."

Lara was here to listen to victims speak about heart-wrenching tragedies caused by convicted and suspected drunk drivers.

"I'm here to tell them that that car or whatever type of vehicle it is, is just as much of a weapon as a .357 magnum is, so when you get it in it, and load it up with alcohol you can kill someone," said Davy Flowers.

Davy Flowers and his wife Dianna are Colquitt County natives.

Their four-year-old grandson was killed in a car accident on June 6 of last year near Savannah, Georgia.

"The alleged drunk driver come across the center line and hit my daughter head-on," said Flowers.

According to the crash report in Effingham County, Robert Waugh is charged with first degree homicide by vehicle and DUI in that accident.

Meanwhile Flowers' daughter Adrianna is healing physically after her legs were broken and a vertebrae cracked.

Flowers says she can walk on her own, but it's painful.

The family is missing little Owen Rivers, a boy who loved Spiderman. He's remembered as a ball of energy.

"His favorite thing to say was 'papa' let's race," said Flowers. "He was always 90 to nothing when he wasn't sleeping."

Lara who was in cuffs missed the presentation.

He wasn't the only one.

"You just violated your probation," said Officer Matthews. "If you don't complete this class, it violates your probation."

Lara was the only one arrested.

He pleaded guilty to a DUI charge and was sentenced back in September to 12 months probation.

Moultrie Police say the misdemeanor public intoxication gives people a chance to sober up. Police say it may even have spared him from getting another DUI.

Two others were kicked out after police say they tested positive for having alcohol in their system as well.

"I really do apologize," said Justin Campbell. "I didn't know I'd still be intoxicated."

Burt Canfield who says he received two DUI's in the past also left the meeting.

"I think drinking and driving is always dangerous," said Canfield.

Troopers say on November 15, 2014, a similar situation happened at a Mother's Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact panel in Tifton. They say Jonathan Wilcox was charged with DUI. He was required to attend to the meeting after pleading guilty to a previous DUI charge, according to the Cook County Probate Court.  

Barry Martin, the executive director of the Georgia Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization, says the most recent data in 2012 shows there were 32,356 DUI convictions. Of those, 67 percent were first offenses, 31 percent were second offenses, 1.4 percent were third offenses and .1 percent were fourth offenses. 

"Sometimes one time isn't enough but the bottom line is, if you drink and drive enough other than being caught sooner or later, you going to lose and you could end up in a fatal accident," said Georgia State Patrol Sgt. Russ Covington.

It's a message we can never hear too much.

With education and help from law enforcement, Mothers Against Drunk Driving is trying stop people from not only a first offense but from doing it again.

Advocates say about one third of the drunk driving arrests, crashes, deaths, and injuries are a result of repeat offenders.

Barry Martin says nationwide there are 75 percent first-time offenders. Compare that to 67 percent in Georgia. Martin says high repeat offense numbers versus the national average indicates a need for tougher first time offender measures in Georgia. He says M.A.D.D. recommends and is advocating for an "all offender ignition interlock device" bill be passed in this legislative session. 

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