ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Arlington police say they’ve seen far too many stories like Tina Reese’s.
It was the first day of September, and she recalls picking up her 10-year-old son from daycare. The two were just blocks from their home when a suspected drunken driver ran a stop sign and slammed into her car.
“He crushed into the side of the car,” Reese said. “I turned around to try to find my son. He was in the back seat, sitting in the middle. He was still strapped in but he was unconscious and bleeding from his mouth. At that point I passed back out.”
Reese’s 10-year old son TJ suffered severe internal injuries. Reese held him in her arms as her son was taken off life support.
“They took the respirator off. I was able to kiss him, hold him,” said Reese as she choked back tears. “That day changed our lives forever.”
Reese still wears a neck brace because of her spinal injuries. Walter Chidyausiku, 29, is charged with intoxication manslaughter in the tragedy.
Stories like Reese’s have Arlington increasing DWI patrols. Police department officials spoke with Reese on Wednesday during a press conference.
In a one-month period, eight other young people died in possible alcohol related crashes. The new patrols target drivers on the road and those who are drinking in bars.
Just last month, twin brothers Steve and Mike Eckel, and their 19-year-old friend Danielle Ruthstrom, died when their car crashed into a tree. Investigators believe that both speed and alcohol were factors in the crash.
The priority task force normally starts around the holidays.
“We’re now doing the task force for November and December,” Officer Stacey Brown of the Arlington Police Department said. “We normally do it just for December. But we’re doing November and December.”
In its first week, the task force has made five public intoxication arrests and 31 DWI arrests. Officers have conducted checks on 34 bars.
Arlington hopes the increase in patrols will prevent tragic deaths like TJ’s.
“My son was a great kid,” Reese said. “He had a smile that lit up a room. He was kind. He was caring, he was loving. Now when I go home its’ quiet. There is no laughter. No one playing.”