Family starts DWI Tracker program

December 30, 2009 4:48:09 PM PST
A billboard was put up Wednesday along Highway 105 in Montgomery County in memory of three young people killed by drunk drivers. The families of Adam Landrum, Meghann Smith and Eddie Haynes participated in the unveiling and held a candlelight vigil. It is a stark reminder of what can happen when people drink and drive. With New Year's Eve approaching, the father of one of those victims is doing his part to keep the roads safe and clear of drunk drivers.

It's been more than a year since Doug Smith lost his daughter, Meghann. Instead of dwelling on the pain, he's doing something about her death, trying to prevent other tragedies like the one he went through.

"All the time I'm watching what's coming in this direction," said Doug.

When Doug hits these streets, he does it with a mission.

"We are dedicated to one thing and that's looking for the drunk," he said.

It's his way of trying to save lives while honoring his little girl.

"You'd be surprised how many people you'll see driving by drinking a beer," Doug said.

Meghann Smith was known as the girl who could make anybody laugh, but the 18-year-old also had a serious side, wanting to be a DPS trooper. Sadly though, her dream of being an officer ended when she was struck and killed by a drunk driver last October.

"When you get that knock on the door, that's when you hell starts. Every day we wake up to the hell. It doesn't go away, it doesn't get better," said mother Margaret Smith.

Taking that pain, the Smiths began the DWI Tracker program. Using their own money, they bought two vehicles to follow suspected drunk drivers and report them to police. The program, which is run completely on donations, so far lead to 57 assisted arrests. It is supported by the local police departments and even the district attorney's office.

"It kind of sounds silly to say, but every little bit helps no matter how miniscule it is. If people get the impression that DWI most likely get them arrested, it's going to make them think twice," Montgomery County Asst. District Attorney Warren Diepramm.

The program has been so successful the Smiths say they've been asked to expand, but donations to make that happen have been slow coming. Still, these parents won't give up on their mission knowing that what they're doing might just save a family the pain they went through.

"We know we're not going to bring our daughter back and that's not what we're trying to do. We're trying to prevent other families to go through the hardship that we've gone through and are still going through," said Doug.

The number one crime that people die from in Montgomery County is DWI. We have a link to the DWI Tracker website here.


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