By: Elizabeth Nickerson
August 19, 2013
Wakulla County, FL--Matthew Beard was in his last year at Florida State University when a drunk driver struck and killed him on Christmas break in West Palm Beach.
That was six years ago, but his mother Connie Russell says it feels like it was yesterday.
"Every DUI arrest that is made is potentially another mom and another dad that doesn't get a phone call, a knock on the door like I got," said Connie Russell, the Victim's Mother.
Now, the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office has a new toy to combat death on the roadways as part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign.
"To help educate and save lives, we awarded Wakulla County with a fully equipped unmarked Tahoe to do the enforcement aspect of traffic safety," said Ken Ellis, a spokesperson from the Florida Department of Transportation.
Deputies intend to use this black SUV - with tinted windows - at night to catch intoxicated drivers when they least expect it. It was given to the sheriff's office. It can instantly stream video to any smart phone. The deputy who drives it will be dedicated to traffic enforcement and drunk driving patrols.
Wakulla County has one of the highest death rates in Florida for alcohol-related crashes.
"There is nothing worst than picking out a casket for your child. If this SUV that is designated for DUI saves somebody's Matthew then I am all for it," said Beard
The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign runs 'til labor day weekend. According to the campaign, about 800 people died in drunk driving crashes in the last five years on Labor Day weekend.