SOUTH WINDSOR — Native police and the nonprofit Moms Towards Drunk Driving gathered Thursday at division headquarters to warn individuals towards driving whereas intoxicated in the course of the upcoming vacation season.
That is an particularly private concern for South Windsor Police. They misplaced Officer Benjamin C. Lovett who died in July when his bike was struck by an Ellington man who’s now going through manslaughter and different costs within the pending drunken-driver case.
South Windsor Police Chief Kristian Lindstrom stated Thursday that the division has seen a “steep climb in DUI arrests and DUI-related crashes within the final 5 months.”
In keeping with police division numbers, Lindstrom stated, DUI-related incidents have elevated by 111% within the final 5 months, when in comparison with the primary half of 2021.
After a 12 months of isolation in the course of the pandemic, many individuals are wanting ahead to seeing household and buddies at conventional vacation celebrations that had been both canceled or subdued final 12 months.
The rise in impaired driving is particularly disturbing for South Windsor police, who’ve a private stake.
“This troubling development hits near residence with our police household,” Lindstrom stated on the briefing, noting that members of the division are nonetheless coping with the impact of Lovett’s dying.
Bob Gargulio, govt director of the New England Area of Moms Towards Drunk Driving, additionally spoke on the briefing, saying that South Windsor Police will show crimson ribbon magnets on their autos to deliver consciousness to the issue.
Gargulio stated it’s been 35 years since MADD first launched the crimson ribbon designated driver marketing campaign. They’re asking everybody to affix police and show crimson ribbons on their autos to broadly publicize the problem.
“It’s an consciousness device,” Gargulio stated, including, “the vacation season is among the main occasions of 12 months for crashes associated to alcohol.”
Officer Lovett’s dad and mom, Rob and Diane Lovett, attended Thursday’s briefing and urged individuals to be accountable in the course of the holidays.
“Make the proper resolution, be accountable, don’t be irresponsible and make unhealthy selections, which the one that hit my son did,” Rob Lovett stated.
“He was 25 years outdated, and you’ve got a health care provider asking you if your child’s needs? Who talks to their 25-year-old about that,” he added.
“Put together when you’re going to drink — have a driver, name an Uber,” Diane Lovett stated.
“We don’t need different households to need to expertise what Ben’s household goes by,” Lindstrom stated. He additionally urged individuals to be accountable when celebrating the vacations.
“With the vacation season almost upon us, we ask that you just plan forward and choose a chosen driver earlier than your vacation celebrations and do not forget that our officers will likely be out working day and night time to arrest violators when obligatory,” he stated.
“Keep secure and have a contented vacation, however do the proper factor. You don’t need that knock on the door,” Gargulio stated.
Ben covers Coventry and Tolland for the Journal Inquirer.