POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011 - 5:17pm
UPDATED: Monday, March 12, 2012 - 12:59pm
EL PASO - The El Paso Police Department sends us mug shots of drunk drivers nearly every day, but lately we noticed a disturbing trend among several of them.
Police report six people have now been picked up for their third or more DWI in the past month.
"The man that killed my daughter had three previous DWI's," Grace Talamantes said.
Her daughter, Valerie, was killed by a drunk driver three years ago.
"I live day-to-day now because I don't have her," Talamantes said. "It's a pain I don't wish upon anybody."
Talamantes isn't the only one who's seen the damage a drunk driver can do. Pictures of El Pasoans who have been killed or hurt by a drunk driver line the wall at the local Mothers Against Drunk Driving office. We asked Virginia Gonzalez, the Executive Director for MADD, why so many people choose to drive drunk even after they get caught.
"There are many people who are dealing with addictions. There are many people who just, unfortunately, have not learned and have kind of gotten used to the process," she said.
"This business of three or more is ridiculous," Talamantes said.
Talamantes says the punishments need to get harsher for all drunk drivers.
"Maybe they think it's a normal way of life. It's not. I know we've grown up that way, but we need to take responsibility - from the courts to the prosecutors to the juries, as well as ourselves," Talamantes said.
She says if driver's don't start taking responsibility more pictures will likely be added to the wall, and Gonzalez says the drivers, who police say were drunk, won't walk away either.
"It is inevitable that if they continue that behavior that they will end up behind bars or in a body bag," Gonzalez said.
We're working with the District Attorney's Office to look at the DWI problem in El Paso. We're going to review each three or more case to find out what type of punishment the drivers have faced in the past. The DA's office should provide that information to us next week.
Watch NewsChannel 9 and check KTSM.com for updates.