California Highway Patrol gave nearly 2,200 citations for driving under the influence in Bakersfield in 2014. CHP officers in Kern County in the same year also noted 312 collisions, 422 injuries, and 14 fatalities – all involving DUI.
They are statistics, arrests and tragedies that are 100 percent preventable – choices were made by people to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. That decision affected 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 Kern County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving will host its second Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5K at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19, at Park at River Walk, 11200 Stockdale Highway in Bakersfield.
For the second year, the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles is supporting MADD and the event, serving as sponsor and key partner in organizing the event. Earlier this year, Chain | Cohn | Stiles marketing director Jorge Barrientos was named MADD California’s volunteer of the year for his work with MADD Kern County.
This second annual event follows the first-ever Bakersfield Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash in which 700 people attended and raised more than $46,000 to fight against drunk driving locally. That event followed a tragic 2013 on Kern’s roadways in which more than 30 deaths and 600 injuries occurred at the hands of drunken drivers.
“The fight is not over,” said Carla Pearson, victim advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Kern County. “People are still making the choice to get behind the wheel after drinking, putting your life and their own life at risk. These are not accidents – they are 100 percent preventable crashes.”
The event ceremony will start at 7:30 a.m. and the race and walk will kick off starting at 8 a.m. In attendance will be surviving victims of drunken driving crashes and their families, supporters, law enforcement officers with their vehicles, a Kern County Fire Department engine and giant flag, A Life Interrupted display vehicle, an activities area for kids, advocates, and other community members rallying and running for the cause.
For more information and to register to participate, go to www.walklikemadd.org/bakersfield.
The event is supported by local law enforcement and prosecutors, as well as sponsoring local companies. Sponsors include:
- Chain | Cohn | Stiles
- Kern Schools Federal Credit Union
- Kern County Bar Association
- Kern County Prosecutors Association
- Bakersfield Police Officers Association
- Brown’s Backhoe Service, Inc.
- Ira and Carole Cohen/UBS Financial Services
- Kern Law Enforcement Association
- Hall Ambulance Service Incorporated
Local media is also supporting the cause and helping raise awareness. Media sponsors include:
- KGET-17, KernGoldenEmpire.com, CW-12 and Telemundo
- Bakersfield Life Magazine and Bakersfield Wellness Magazine
- Eyewitness News, KBAK-29 and KBFX-58
Several other local groups are assisting MADD Kern County with donations and other assistance. They include:
Several local media agencies have partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to raise awareness of the problems in Kern County, and support the Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5K. Stay tuned to this section for coverage of the event.
- Drunk driving ends here (Bakersfield Life Magazine): The article highlights the event and profiles two victims of DUI crashes who are taking part.
- MADD event: Run sober, walk sober, to convince people to drive sober (The Bakersfield Californian)
- Local attorneys team up with MADD for 5k to end drunk driving (First Look with Scott Cox, The Bakersfield Californian)