Huntington officials, Suffolk County police and the parents of a young victim of a drunken driver pleaded Wednesday for residents to drive more safely.
Insp. William Scrima, commanding officer of the Second Precinct, said, “We all know how painful 2020 was for everybody and were all excited to go out and socialize again.
“But we have to do it responsibly–please drink responsibly, use car services, use designated drivers. Be careful so that 2021 is not a worse year for somebody or somebody’s family.”
He said that Suffolk police had made 36 percent more arrests related to to DWI accidents since Memorial Day.
“We are doing this extra enforcement to prevent future tragedies and prevent pain and grief other people have to go through,” he said.
Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci noted that there is frequently an increase in crashes involving teen drivers between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but that everyone has a role to play in improving safety. “Stay sober and be aware of other drivers. There is no reason to get behind the wheel if you’re impaired,” he said.
Councilman Gene Cook kept it simple, saying, ” Do not drink, do not drive. Call somebody, make arrangements ahead of time” for a ride home.
And Councilman Ed Smyth reminded bar and restaurant owners to ensure that their staffs know not to serve someone who appears drunk. Bars should “take the opportunity now to do additional training to with your bartenders, servers wait staff, managers on identifying visible signs of intoxication with your patrons. It is your responsibility to substitute your judgment for theirs to make sure people get home safely.”
He also noted that all drunk driving warnings apply to boaters as well.
John and Alisa McMorris, the parents of Andrew McMorris, a Boy Scout who was killed in 2018 by drunken driver Thomas Murphy as Andrew and other Scouts were walking alongside a road in Manorville, participated in Wednesday’s press conference.
She urged an end to driving drunk and to urge the use of technology to improve safety and prevent the kind of tragedy that befell her 12-year-old son.
She said, “Our plea is to please be an upstander. Don’t drink and drive yourself and if you see someone boating or driving, stop them. It is your business–we have a shared roadway that we all are responsible for. ”
She said the family is working with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to support federal legislation–Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone–that would provide technology to prevent distracted or impaired driving.
Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Councilman Gene Cook, Councilman Ed Smyth, Insp. William Scrima, Alisa McMorris.