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Houston's holiday drunk driving toll

With a new year started and an old one in the rear-view mirror, it's time to take both a look ahead and a look back. Harris County Vehicular Crimes Prosecutor Sean Teare recently provided data that helps us look back at the last few days of 2018.

He said law enforcement officers throughout Harris County and Houston arrested 347 people for drunk driving as 2018 wound down. "It's a sad commentary on our community right now," he said. "We are in the midst of a public health crisis."

The arrests tabulated were made from the day after Christmas through New Year's Day, he said. Teare said the holiday arrests are linked to extended time off of work and school for most adults. "You had really a five-to-six day binge-worthy holiday season," Teare said. "There were no breaks. There was a lot of time sadly for people to drink and get behind the wheel."

He said that during that segment of the holiday season, there were a pair of fatal alcohol-related crashes in the Houston area, including one in which a 44-year-old woman lost her life in a crash in the early hours of New Year's Day on North Freeway Frontage Road at Burress Street.

An 11-year-old girl died in a crash on New Year's Eve, he said. That wreck was at Highway 90 and Beltway 8. The girl's father is charged with homicide in that case after he was charged with a felony of drunk driving with a child passenger.

Because Harris County has one of the highest DWI fatality rates in the nation, the prosecutor said the impaired driving problem extends year-round.

He said the victims of violent crashes take "a toll on the first responders, on the EMS people, on the fire department, on our police officers, on our prosecutors that go to the scene. The ripple effect on these cases is everywhere."

Of course, the victims and their families are impacted more than anyone.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a drunk driver, contact a Houston law firm experienced in holding perpetrators financially responsible for all damages.

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