NEW YORK (WCBS 880/CBS 2) – On Tuesday night police were launching a crackdown on wrong-way drivers following a series of incidents across Long Island.
When Colleen Rey Cassar’s father, John Rey, was hit by a wrong-way drunk driver on the Long Island Expressway on July 4 and spent 16 agonizing days in the hospital before he died, she had no idea so many other families would soon be in her situation.
“What’s happened in the six months since my father’s accident has been horrific,” Cassar told CBS 2’s John Metaxas. “Thanksgiving was difficult, the first holiday, and Christmas also, you know …”
But as the holidays approach, the wrong-way drunk driving incidents seem to be happening all too frequently — six on long island in the last month alone — and too many families have been left grieving.
“There will be consequences if you drink and drive. You will be caught and put in jail,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy said.
On Tuesday Levy announced beefed up patrols with officers dedicated to dealing with wrong-way and drunk drivers, including helicopters over the county’s major highways.
The county also will put out a warning on radio stations and has put up signs along the highways to get the word out — measures all welcomed by Cassar, who is working to introduce tougher state laws.
“We don’t other families to live through the pain and sorrow we have to,” said Christopher Cassar, John Rey’s son.
Unfortunately, several young children face this Christmas season without their fathers.
Everyone agrees, wrong-way drunk driving needs to be stopped. The more immediate goal on Long Island is just to make it through the holidays without anyone else dying.
Suffolk County police also plan to set up DWI checkpoints at busy intersections, highway ramps and shopping centers across the county through the New Year.