TUKWILA, Wash. – The Washington State Patrol showed off some new tools to fight drunk drivers Friday, and they dedicated the event to two Federal Way teens killed in a deadly accident last month.
Nicholas Hodgins and Derek King were killed after a crash on Interstate 5 in Tukwila June 9, just days before they were to graduate from Decatur High School. Their car, which became disabled on the freeway, was rear-ended by an SUV. Troopers say the SUV driver, Alexander Peder, was drunk.
At an event to kickoff the new DUI patrols called Target Zero, Hodgins' mother, Mary Bobbitt was flanked by other families who suffered a similar loss.
"We miss our sons," said Bobbitt.
"I want people to be scared to drive drunk. I want people to look at these officers are be scared, because they took away someone from me that I can never get back," said Anthony Beaver. He was driving the Honda that Hodgins and King were in.
King's father applauds the new Target Zero campaign.
"Target Zero team and what they're doing is a great job and will the help efforts in the future of stopping something like this," said Randall King.
Part of this initiative to stop drunk drivers is a new Mobile Impaired Driving Unit. It comes complete with breathalyzer stations, a communications center with direct downlink from Washington State Patrol aircraft and two holding cells. It allows troopers to drop off drunk drivers.
"And they're right back out on the road. It cuts their time in about half," said Capt. Steven Burns, Washington State Patrol.
The message to drivers: if you're impaired, they will find you.
"No one can give us back what we've lost, but we can hope to stop and make it so someone else doesn't lose their child," said Bobbitt.
Alexander Peder pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide in the June 9 crash. He has been arrested on three different occasions for suspicion of DUI. The families of the victims say they are working to make the laws tougher on repeat DUI offenders in Washington state.