According to NHTSA data, nearly 30 people die each day on U.S. roadways because of drunk driving crashes. That averages to one death every 50 minutes. Each hour, every day. All these deaths are preventable if people didn’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
There is an Indiana State Trooper assigned to the Indiana State Police Bremen Post that patrols the local roads looking for intoxicated drivers, hoping to get them stopped before tragedy strikes. Master Trooper Mick Dockery began his career in December of 1999 and recently surpassed 1,000 career DUI arrests. Dockery patrols primarily in Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties and puts a focus on looking for drunk drivers.
When speaking with Dockery, he says it isn’t about the numbers it is about hopefully preventing tragedy. Dockery says that although he has a job to do, he tries to make a connection so the situation can be prevented from happening again. “Sometimes good people make bad decisions. It’s not uncommon for someone that I’ve arrested to thank me or shake my hand,” Dockery says. “For me it’s not about how many people I can put in jail, but about keeping the community safe, and making a positive impact on a person that has put themselves in a bad situation.”
Dockery says he is often asked what his number is, meaning how many DUIs. His typical answer is two. This number represents the two deaths that he can’t forget. Deaths that happened because of drunk driving crashes. The first occurred early in his career when a teenage girl died in front of him, despite life-saving measures. The second occurred when a friend of Dockery’s was killed by a drunk driver in 2008.
“Both incidents involved tragic deaths that could have been prevented, and I’ve seen firsthand the pain and suffering it causes for those families and friends whose lives are forever affected by the consequences,” Dockery says.
We will never know the number of lives that were saved because of these 1,000 arrests, but lives were undoubtedly saved.