Major DWI crackdown launched

By: Mario Boone Email
By: Mario Boone Email

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Thirteen federal, state, and local police agencies are joining forces to end the deadly practice of driving while impaired. It's not your typical anti-DWI campaign. This effort, known as the Foothills Law Enforcement Coalition, focuses specifically on areas surrounding the Great Smoky Mountains.

"The message is if you drink and drive in the state of Tennessee, you're going to go to jail," said Kendell Poole of the Governor's Highway Safety Office. The message came too late for Kendra Hall's friend.

"He was riding in the passenger seat, and the guy that was driving was drunk," said Hall. Sadly, the teen boy died. "It was very upsetting, and I think this right here shows that it's very important for students to be aware that it can happen to people you know."

Exactly what organizers hope. To further drive home the message, they displayed a car mangled in a DWI crash. Students also dawned goggles used to simulate the effects of too much alcohol. But liquor isn't the only threat. There's a new emerging problem for police.

"Impaired driving is prescription drugs, illegal narcotics, anything that would impair your judgement," Poole said.

DWI fatalities in Blount, Cocke, and Sevier counties are up from 2009 thru 2010, but much lower from 2005. Many want the downward trend to continue. "I hope this wakes people up," said Hall.

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