Drunk driving: a mother bringing awareness, a police department implementing a plan

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News First at Four
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:42 PM EDT
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London, Ky. (WYMT) - Zachary Mathis, was the victim of a Whitley County accident where the driver, James Barnes, was reportedly driving under the influence.

Tasha Whitehill who is the mother of 21-year-old Zachary Mathis said no family should have to endure what she went through on September 3rd.

“No mother should have to identify their child after something like this,” said Whitehill.

Whitehill also said that Zachary was a kind loving person with a heart of gold and did not deserve this.

“Everyone who knew him saw just what a loving young man he was and this came too soon, and there was so much more life he had to live,” added Whitehill.

There are organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, that Whitehill wants to team up with, to help spread awareness.

“I want it to become a big thing here in Laurel County, I do not want it to go unseen.” “I want to ensure that another person does not lose their life behind the wheel due to alcohol,” said Whitehill.

The London Police Department also knows the impacts of losing someone to drunk driving when Police Officer Logan K. Medlock died while on patrol for DUI.

London Police Department Sergeant Troy Truett said the department is being proactive in trying to prevent more accidents involving drunk drivers.

“We are sending our officers to advanced training for example ‘aride’ which stands for advanced roadside driving enforcement which makes the officers more comfortable with a DUI,” said Truett.

Truett also said the department is increasing the presence of officers on the street as well.

“During the hours when DUI accidents are more prone to happening we are sending more officers out to patrol those areas to try and reduce those DUI numbers,” explained Truett.

Truett also added that there have been far more DUIs issued at this point of the year compared to last.

“For 2022 we had a total of 94 DUIs for the year and for the year of 2023 so far we’ve already got 214, and that is not including the 3 months we have left for the year,” said Truett.

Whitehill wants people to know that you are not alone in this fight if you lost a loved one to a drunk driver and wants to add support in Laurel County.