Cherokee County Sheriff unveils new patrol car to deter DUIs - FOX Carolina 21

Cherokee County Sheriff unveils new patrol car to deter DUIs

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Suzie Thomas and her son, Gregory would walk a few miles every afternoon. Nearly 16 years ago, that everyday walk turned into a life changing tragedy for the Thomas family.

"We had walked about a mile and the car came down at a high rate of speed,” explained Mrs. Thomas, “He hit Gregory and killed him instantly."

Gregory Thomas was just 14 when he was killed by a drunk driver. Since then, Suzie Thomas has shared her story to deter drivers from getting behind the wheel under the influence.

When she heard about the new car in Cherokee County with the same message, she supported it immediately.

"It's so senseless,” said Thomas, “It's 100% preventable."

The half-taxi , half-patrol car will be placed all around Cherokee County to remind drivers they have a choice, to take a sober ride home or one in the back of a patrol car.

"It's real simple,” said Sheriff Steve Mueller, “Take a taxi, call an Uber, call a wrecker service, use a designated driver. Today there's really no excuse for somebody to drink and drive with all the available options.”

According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, there have been more than 850 fatalities on roads so far this year. In Cherokee County alone, there have been 17 fatalities, which is more than double from last year. SCHP says at least a half a dozen of those involved drugs or alcohol.

"If you look at the carnage, literally we celebrate in South Carolina when we have under 1,000 Fatalities,” explained Sheriff Mueller, “That's nothing to celebrate. Those are families lives that are destroyed and disrupted forever."

Families like the Thomas family have this message for drivers this holiday season.

"Stop and think about it before you do it,” explained Mrs. Thomas, “It's your life or it's an innocent person's life."

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