NEW ORLEANS -- Ryan McCollum’s life took a tragic turn on Christmas Even when an allegedly drunk driver crashed into his car, killing his pregnant wife and 7-month-old son.
Police hope that tragedy can be a sobering reminder for anyone who may get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
On that same day, in Kenner, police were chasing a 25-year-old who was driving into oncoming traffic.
“(He) led officers on a vehicle pursuit, struck several parked vehicles and wound up blowing a tire,” Lt. Brian McGregor said.
Dan Charles found himself in the middle of it when he saw the drunk driver trying to escape police on foot and climb over his fence.
“Looked out my window to see the police outside and heard the police telling somebody to hit the ground, get on the ground on the ground,” Charles said.
Though both incidents ended very differently, they’re a reminder of the impact that drunk driving can have.
The number of drunk driving accidents and arrests rises around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Law enforcement agencies statewide participate in the national effort to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
"We try to find those intoxicated drivers on the street, encourage people to get a designated driver if they're going to be out drinking,” McGregor said. “We know it's the holiday people are celebrating.”
Mandatory checkpoints will be set up in several parishes. Authorities say they’ve proven beneficial, but drivers need to do their part as well.
“It’s going to definitely alter your life,” McGregor warned. “Especially if you get arrested.”
Making the right choice, could be the difference between someone like McCollum celebrating with his loved ones instead of saying his goodbyes.
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