DUI panel reminds drivers not to drink

Dawn Bruce, center, smiles at Conrad Thompson Saturday, Dec. 19, during a demonstration meant to curb drunk driving.  - Adam Rudnick
Dawn Bruce, center, smiles at Conrad Thompson Saturday, Dec. 19, during a demonstration meant to curb drunk driving.
— image credit: Adam Rudnick

ARLINGTON — Holding up a yellow sign that read “Drunk Drivers Break Hearts,” Conrad Thompson and Dawn Bruce waved at drivers traveling on Interstate 5.

“We just want to stop the deaths,” said Thompson, chair of the Snohomish County DUI Task Force. “This time of year, accidents happen. We want people to call a friend, call a cab, call a police officer if you have to.”

Organizers didn’t let rainy conditions dampen their spirits Saturday, Dec. 19, as they held a demonstration to remind drivers to stay off the road if they’ve had too much to drink.

The event, which consisted of about 10 residents holding signs, was organized by members of the Snohomish County DUI Victim Panel.

Panel members speak to county drivers who have been issued DUIs. Those drivers must attend the panels at the Snohomish County Courthouse by court order.

Dee Lawrence, whose son was killed by a drunk driver in 1999, speaks on the panel and was on hand Saturday with her husband, James Lawrence.

“We’re trying to increase awareness,” said Dee Lawrence, an Everett resident. “There’s a lot of drinking and driving over the holidays. We’re trying to make a point today. I’m doing anything I can do so that I can save another life.”

The two-hour demonstration was supposed to take place at the Smokey Point Rest Area near Arlington, but it was moved at the last minute to the Arlington I-5 overpass.

“There are different qualifications for demonstrations at rest areas,” said Jan Schemenauer, DUI Victim Panel coordinator. “(Being at the overpass) was what our original plan was. Here, we’re so much more visible.”

The demonstration took place only hours after a 26-year-old man was allegedly killed by a drunk driver on Smokey Point Boulevard.

According to authorities, the Arlington man was struck and killed while walking just after 2 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 19.

Marysville Police responded to the report, and found citizens administering CPR to the victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

A Washington State Patrol trooper stopped a 34-year-old Marysville man for speeding shortly after the hit-and-run. The driver allegedly asked the trooper, “What did I hit?”

The Marysville man had a blood alcohol content of .177 — more than twice the legal limit.

The man was arrested and booked at the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of vehicular homicide.

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