Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Victim Impact Panel is personal for some GCASA staff

At the Victim Impact Panel last evening written about in the article below by Dan Crofts, I showed the audience these pictures as I told my story.

My children were killed on March 10, 1993 by a repeat drunk driving offender. The DWI crash that killed my children was his third DWI. He was driving a tractor trailer truck with 48,000 lbs. of flour going from Lockport, NY to Schenectady,NY. He crashed into my wife and 4 children on Rt. 31 in Ogden between Brockport and Spencerport.

This is Brigid. She was born 04/11/87. She was 5 when she was killed. She would be 23 today.

This is Ryan. He was born 05/09/84. He was 8 when he was killed. He would be 26 today.
This is the crash scene on 03/10/93. My wife Angela and daughter Maureen aged 14 at the time, and son, Joseph who was 12 at the time survived. They all had extensive injuries and trauma.

In the early 80s when Mothers Against Drunk Driving started holding Victim Impact Panels about 40,000 Americans were killed in DWI crashes every year. By 2000 the number was down to about 17,000. Last year, 2009, the number if DWI fatalities in the United States was down to about 12,000 with about 500 per year in New York State. New York State and Utah are tied as being the #1 lowest DWI fatalities per 100,000 miles driven in the United States. While things have improved we had 23 offenders at the panel last night from Orleans, Genesee, and Wyoming counties. Between 20 and 35 people attend GCASA's Victim impact panel every month.

I am a Psychiatric Social Worker. I will have been in the field 42 years on 10/31. I have worked with people with mental health and addiction problems my whole career. It seems very ironic that my community, my family, my children, and myself have been victimized by the disease that I have professionally and personally  tried to help so many people fight over the years.

I have been the executive director of GCASA for the last 10 years. The previous executive director had also lost a child to DWI. There are other members of the GCASA staff who have lost relatives to DWI crashes as well. DWI fatalities happen across the board and can happen to any one.

Please do not drink and drive and don't let anyone, anyone, anyone, drink and drive. If you have to, call the police. Hopefully you will won't suffer the tragedies which hundreds of thousands of Americans have.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful kids Dave. I don't know how you do it.

Anonymous said...

I've heard Dave's sob story before. he needs to get a life.

Anonymous said...

I have drivin drunk before and nevr been caugtht.

Anonymous said...

I'm in recovery and your story helps a lot for me to stay sober. Thanks for sharing it. I'll never drive drunk again. I like Brenda too.

Anonymous said...

This is a response to Anonymous #2.

A "sob story" is a self-indulgent story that is willingly and happily told for the purpose of gaining sympathy. Dave does not enjoy telling this story. In spite of this, he tells it in order to help other people understand the consequences of drunk driving and to make sure that his childrens' deaths were not in vain. It is difficult for him, but he does it for the benefit of others.

I've come to know Dave rather well, and I don't see any self-pity in him. He has a life -- he's very much engaged with GCASA's mission in society, and he also does other things. He has a few different blogs, a private counseling practice, and teaches classes part-time at Brockport. Everyone who works with him loves him, admiring his honesty, intelligence, friendliness, and upbeat attitude.