The enlarged photo of Racheal Slade that will be used at the sobriety checkpoints (WVLT/Kyle Grainger)
ATHENS, Tenn. (WVLT) - Police are honoring three McMinn Co. teens Friday night with a memorial sobriety checkpoint in McMinn County. The teens were killed just over four years ago by a drunk driver.
The teenagers images will be posted along two security checkpoints that will be set up Friday night to remind drivers that driving under the influence can be a deadly decision.
"If we can stop one person in McMinn County from driving impaired 80 times a year, Guess what we've done some work," said Clint Shrum in the Governor's Highway Safety Office.
Shrum says officers will be targeting any type of impaired driving. He reminds drivers that impaired driving is not just driving after drinking but driving after taking drugs, even prescription drugs that come with warning labels.
"A vehicle is heavy machinery. If people take prescription drugs and they chose to drive, it's impairing them whether it is therapeutic or not, it is illegal," he said.
Seventeen year-old Racheal Slade and John Daugherty, 16, died when their vehicle was struck head-on by an impaired driver, according to the McMinn Co. Sheriff's Office. Shane Standridge, who died in January of this year from injuries sustained in the wreck, will also be honored.
Family members hope the three pictures will remind people of how an accident like this can be avoided by not driving.
"It does affect lives and families. It's not just I gotta stop and let them check me. People might get upset about it, but it's going to save lives," said DeeDee McKean, Mother of Racheal Slade. "Every single day is hard. No motivation, energy, no drive, no strength. When I Iost her I feel like I lost part of my soul."
Checkpoints will take place on Highway 411 in front of the Etowah Police Department on Friday evening and another near the Polk/McMinn county line.
Police remind drivers to think before they drink and that every single fatal accident number tells a story of a life lost and many lives that try to stay strong and move on.
"Be aware, preach it preach it preach it, Tell it tell it tell it, and like they said if you've reached one you've reached one it will be good," said Evelyn Daugherty, mother of John. "I'm glad I had 16 years, but 16 was not enough. You wonder what he would be like, how far he would go, who'd he marry all the normal things."
Members of the Governor's Highway Safety Office, the Sheriff's Office, the Etowah Police Dept. and MADD were on hand for the announcement.