SPECIAL REPORT: Drunk driving continues to be an issue

SPECIAL REPORT: Drunk driving continues to be an issue

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - According to MADD.org on average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash and an average drunk driver has been behind the wheel over 80 times before their first arrest.

The website states every two minutes a person is also injured in a drunk driving crash and just last year in Texas there were about 64,000 DUI arrests.

"You know people usually did not intend and wake up that morning and say oh I think I'll go drink and have a crash and kill someone," Phyllis Peek, Court Monitor Advocate for Stop DWI Inc. said.

But on June 21st, 2015, that is exactly what happened.

James Hardin was driving westbound on Texas Avenue in Midland in the wrong direction and collided with a Mitsubishi Lancer.

That car was driven by Roxana Tarango who was 25 at the time and a mother to a little girl.

Officials say Hardin was found to be intoxicated following the crash.

"I was in Vegas, she was supposed to be with me and I had just spoken to her before the accident," E.J. Terrazas said.

But that was the last conversation he would have with one his best friends.

"She had been hit by a drunk driver and she didn't make it and so my parents called me and it was just a very traumatic experience," Terrazas said.

The crash with Hardin and Tarango occurred at 2:30 a.m., something officials say is common for drunk driving.

"For the most part, even the TX DOT stats say, most of the drunk drivers that have been contacted or the crashes happen between 2 a.m. and 2:59 a.m.," Brad Robertson, Drug Recognition Expert and Standardized Field Sobriety Instructor for the Midland Police Department said.

It's a situation that happens too often.

"They don't wanna have to do that two o clock knock on the door to their family and say I'm sorry your son John was killed tonight in a DWI crash," Peek said.

But for many like Terrazas, it was a nightmare come true.

"Roxanne wasn't really a partier you know she would go out but she would be like the DD and so for that happen I guess it switched reality on us," Terrazas said.

Robertson said the percentage of DWI crashes in relation to regular crashes in Midland is about 31.

He said it has stayed about the same, but most think drinking and driving may always be a never-ending issue.

"Due to the social acceptability of alcohol you are gonna have people that maybe are not aware of what there limits are or there's really not stigma to it so that's really kinda the crux of the DWI issue is the acceptability of alcohol," Robertson said.

MaddDot.org said the rate of drunk driving is the highest among 26 to 29-year-olds and Robertson said ages 21 to 25 will be most involved in a drunk driving collision or arrest.

"Mostly because they are legal now, they can go to the bar," Robertson said. "They aren't hiding out at home and so there gonna get back on the road and they're young and don't make good judgment most of the time."

But for Tarango, it was a life taken way too soon.

"Never in a million years did she think her being a mom would end so fast like now she's not gonna be there for the quincenera, her daughter's wedding, like it hurts people," Terrazas said.

According to MADD.org, every day in America another 27 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes.

Here in the Permian Basin, crashes occur frequently on one exact highway.

"Officers tell us on 191 anytime after nine o clock at night, seven out of eleven people are driving impaired, whether its alcohol, drugs, medication or drowsiness," Peek said.

Terrazas lost a close friend and although it still hurts him, he said her memory will live on forever.

"This was taken on July 4th, of I think 2014, and then I went back the following July 4th and to represent her memory, I went to the beach and took her picture," he said.

Terrazas said she will always be remembered for being a good mom, her bubbly personality, and her love for cooking for family and friends.

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