WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration, but getting behind the wheel after a night in front of the bar could change your life and someone else’s forever.
That’s why Wichita District Attorney John Gillespie and 97th District Attorney Casey Polhemus are joining efforts to educate about the harmful effects of intoxicated driving.
Gillespie and Polhemus tried an intoxication manslaughter case as a team, one that claimed the lives of two Wichita County boys.
It could have been prevented is the message the district attorneys said about the 2015 crash that killed Brent Winkler and Kyle Kemp.
“Intoxication cases have always been important but this kind of made it personal just seeing the direct impact that the loss of life can have on those families,” Polhemus said.
The driver, Terri Sanders, was convicted of two counts of manslaughter and one count aggravated assault.
“I know that kind of renewed my commitment to these cases and making sure that the people that do commit these crimes are put behind bars,” Polhemus said.
However, these families will never see their loved ones again..
“The one that stands out in my mind was the Time Warner Cable repairman who was killed when the drunk driver, an MSU student plowed into his car and threw him out of the cherry picker that he was in, so those things stick with you,” Gillespie said.
Gillespie and Polhemus have seen case after case of people driving after having a few too many.
They said there’s no excuse even if you’ve made a habit of it and gotten away with it, it isn’t worth the risk to yourself and everyone else on the road.
“There’s so many choices with Uber, cabs, having a designated driver, calling a friend, do those things so you won’t be looking at us in the courtroom,” Gillespie said.
In the Sanders case, no breathalyzer or field sobriety tests were done and she refused the request for a blood sample at the hospital.
Now the team of district attorneys will be on call New Year’s Eve.
“It helps for them to have the attorney there to help with drafting a warrant, advising law enforcement, working through those issues because we’ve tried these cases and we know what we need to make a good case in court,” Gillespie said.
When you go to pour the alcohol remember to ditch the keys.
If you don’t, this team will be standing by to ensure there are consequences.
Polhemus said the Sanders appeal should’ve been heard by the Fort Worth Court of Appeals Friday.
You can find the statistics on intoxicated driving in Texas by clicking here.