Angelina County law enforcement cracking down on hard-core drunk - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Angelina County law enforcement cracking down on hard-core drunk drivers

DPS Trooper Greg Sanches DPS Trooper Greg Sanches

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – A recovering alcoholic with three DWI convictions in his past. He doesn't want to give his name, but he does want to share a message.

"The hardest part is knowing that in your addiction an accident can happen...but it can cost a life," said the recovering alcoholic.

He's what some places call a hard-core drunk driver.

The National Transportation Safety Board is reportedly urging states to take a zero-tolerance approach to drunk drivers by prosecutors handing down stiffer charges and allowing sobriety checkpoints. Texas law does not allow the checkpoints.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Greg Sanches said judges and jurors have been handing down stiffer punishments to drunk drivers.

"I think more people are waking up to the fact that it's not worth taking that chance of hurting or killing an innocent person on the roadway," said Sanches.

Phyllis Grandgeorge said the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas sees about a 20 percent increase in clients around the holidays.

"They are drinking and driving because we do a lot of celebrations and that's when we see the increase in referrals," explained Grandgeorge.

Sanches said it's not just alcohol any more, local troopers have seen an increase over the years in drivers impaired from prescription pills and even over-the-counter medications.

"An impaired driver is someone that has lost their judgment, their coordination skills, and their reaction," said Sanches.

It's something the recovery alcoholic is currently learning.

"I got a long ways to go, a long ways to go, but with the grace of God and the help of counseling...and [I] try to tell other people in that stuff what they might be headed for...because they might be headed for the grave," the man said.

If you're serving alcohol, Grandgeorge said set limits because the laws have changed and party hosts are now being held liable too.

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