As Iowans get ready to celebrate the arrival of a new year, a Des Moines woman is reminding them to do so safely. Michelle Coles says her brother was 24 years old when he was killed by a drunk driver 16 years ago.
"A young man who was twice the legal limit, driving without a license, decided he could still drive and took the life of my only brother," Coles explained at a statehouse press conference this month.
The crash happened in Marshalltown in August of 1991, but Coles says she thinks about it every day."I was in the same class as he was," Coles said. "They’re not real sure who (the drunk driver) was running from, but he was running from somebody and broadsided my brother." Coles now helps leads the Iowa branch of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
She’s asking Iowans, who will be drinking on New Year’s Eve, to "stop and think about the effects of drunk or drugged driving. And plan ahead…either call a cab or get a limo or designate a driver." Officials says there were 106 alcohol-related traffic deaths in Iowa in 2006, accounting for nearly one-quarter of all of Iowa’s traffic fatalities. In addition, Iowa law enforcement officers made 20,000 OWI arrests last year.