WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - Texas has a problem with drinking and driving.
“I like to liken it to Russian roulette, they get drunk, they load themselves into vehicles and they fire themselves at our community and any of us can be in the path at any given time,” District Attorney John Gillespie said.
The office of court administration reports that in 2018 there were more than 100,000 Driving While Influenced cases brought to Texas courts.
“I’ve seen the carnage first hand that these drivers leave in their wake,” Gillespie said.
He is working to change that in Wichita County.
The county sees 20 to 25 first or second offender cases a month, while two to five felony cases are brought for the ones there for their 3rd time, or more.
Gillespie is already starting the steps he’s set to get a handle on drunk driving.
“We have used the ankle monitor system on some of the more dangerous felony DWI offenders,” he said.
Creating a specialized prosecutor position to handle DWI cases and working with law enforcement to have a no refusal weekend, allowing them to get blood warrants easily from judges, to get the evidence needed.
“My goal is the stronger the case we have, the better the consequences are,” Gillespie said.
As a guilty verdict can be a surprisingly hard ruling to come across.
“Unless there’s a tragedy, it’s harder to convict,” Texas State Grant Manager, for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, David Dorman said.
Dorman says jurors will think back on a time they or a loved one made a simple mistake and the driver will learn from it.
Both have a simple message to those that may drive drunk.
“Have a plan, don’t let somebody drive impaired,” Dorman said.
“Call a cab, call uber, have a friend drive,” Gillespie said.