A 22-year-old respiratory therapist named Princess, who was the primary provider for her family. A 25-year-old pregnant mother-to-be. A 6-month-old daughter, and sister to a twin. What do all of these people have in common?
These are just some of the innocent lives taken away from Bakersfield this year at the hands of people driving under the influence. In 2014 thus far, Kern County has witnessed seven fatal crashes involving DUI drivers, according to Bakersfield Police Department and California Highway Patrol statistics. In 2013, Kern saw 15 DUI-related fatalities. They are statistics, arrests and tragedies that could have been 100 percent preventable – choices were made by people to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. That decision affected entire families and communities.
In an effort to raise awareness in our own community, raise funds to stop drunken driving and underage drinking locally, and provide support to victims and survivors of drunk driving crashes, the Bakersfield/Kern County affiliate of Mothers Against Drunk Driving will host its first-ever “Walk/Run Like Madd” 5K at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20, at Park at River Walk.
“This is our moment to say enough is enough,” said Carla Pearson, program coordinator and victim
advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Kern County. “We need to stop this madness on our
For Pearson, she knows too well the negative effects of drinking and driving. In 2002, her stepson, 23-year-old Adam Pierce, was killed by a repeat DUI offender. Following that tragedy, Pearson campaigned for victim’s rights in and out of the courtroom, and to take DUI offenders off of the streets. Her fight led to changes in California law in 2002 (Adam’s Law: AB 2173, VC 23593) that warned convicted DUI offenders that if they drove while drunk and someone died, they could be charged with murder.
Since 2011, MADD Kern County has assisted in more than 500 cases involving felony, injury and
Today, Pearson is bringing the 5K walk and run to Kern County in hopes that local residents can help make a change in our community.
“The stories are still in the news, and we’re not getting it. Our community members are being killed by people’s wrong choices,” Pearson said. “We need to bring awareness. We need to make a change.”
Pearson is backed in this inaugural event by several local agencies including the Kern County District Attorney’s Office, Bakersfield Police Department, California Highway Patrol and sponsors including the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles.
Walk Like MADD events are taking place in cities across the country, but ths is a first for Bakersfield. Registration is $15 for those ages 5-21, and $20 for those who are 21 and older. Corporations and groups are encouraged to form teams of 10 or more, and are asked to raise $100 each through donations. The goal in this inaugural walk and run is to raise $25,000 locally.
Individuals can participate in Walk Like MADD in three ways:
1) You can register to walk as an individual or form a team.
2) If you unable to attend, you can sign up online to raise money as a virtual walker.
3) Or, you can give a one-time donation to Walk Like MADD.
To sign up, donate or for more information, go to the local walk-run portal HERE.
You can also Google “Bakersfield Walk Like MADD” or search on Facebook: “Bakersfield Walk Like MADD.”
For more local information on the walk-run, to get in touch with local victims and/or families of victims, or if you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, contact Jorge Barrientos at 661-334-4948, [email protected]
ABOUT MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving will end this danger on America’s roads. PowerTalk 21 is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents® to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every 8.6 minutes at 1-877-MADD-HELP. Learn more at www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.
MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING
- MADD is a nonprofit, grassroots organization with more than 2 million members and supporters nationwide.
- It was founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver.
DRUNK DRIVING IN BAKERSFIELD/KERN COUNTY
- In 2014 thus far, Kern County has witnessed seven fatal crashes involving DUI drivers, according to Bakersfield Police Deparment and California Highway Patrol statistics.
- In 2013, Kern saw 15 DUI-related fatalities.
DRUNK DRIVING IN CALIFORNIA
- In 2012, California saw 802 drunk driving fatalities where drivers had .08 BAC or higher.
- That represents nearly 30 percent of all total traffic deaths, and a nearly 4 percent increase from the year before.
DRUNK DRIVING IN THE UNITED STATES
- In 2012, 10,322 people died in drunk driving crashes nationwide – one every 51 minutes.
- Drunk driving makes up one-third of all highway fatalities in the United States.
- Almost every 90 seconds, someone is injured in a drunk driving crash.
- One in three people will be involved in drunk driving crash in their lifetime.
- Teen alcohol use kills about 4,700 people each year, more than all illegal drugs combined.
WHAT: The Kern County/Bakersfield affiliate of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) hosts its signature “Walk Like MADD” 5K fundraising walk and run on Saturday, Sept. 20, at The Park at River Walk. Local families, friends and co-workers will walk to raise funds and show support for MADD’s “Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving.”
Funds raised through Walk Like MADD help further MADD’s life-saving mission and the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which calls for such things as high-visibility law enforcement, ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers and support for the development of advanced in-vehicle technology to prevent a drunk driver from operating the vehicle. Funds also support victims and survivors of drunk-driving crashes.
The timing for Walk Like MADD is significant because Bakersfield and Kern County have been host to one too many fatal DUI crashes in recent years.
WHEN: 6 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014; Pre-walk remarks begin at 6:30 a.m.; Walk begins at 7 a.m.
WHERE: The Park at River Walk, 11200 Stockdale Highway in Bakersfield.
WHY: In 2014 thus far, Kern County has witnessed seven fatal crashes involving DUI drivers, according to Bakersfield Police Department and California Highway Patrol statistics. In 2013, Kern County saw 15 DUI-related fatalities. Nationwide, more than 10,000 people were killed in 2012 and another 345,000 people were injured in drunk-driving crashes.
VISUALS: Families of victims of drunk-driving crashes, supporters, law enforcement personnel and
other community members walking and running for the cause.
SIGN UP: Go HERE
CONTACT: Jorge Barrientos, Marketing Director: 661-334-4948, [email protected]