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'Make a plan': Warner Robins officer passionate about driving sober

Sergeant Randy Evans lost a family member in a drunk driving accident and now warns others of the legal consequences.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — From 2019 to 2020, Houston County saw an increase in fatal traffic accidents involving alcohol. That's according to The Governor's Office of Highway Safety in Georgia.

You know the saying -- 'Do not drink. Arrive alive.' Those are the words the Warner Robins Police Department just added on the side of Russell Parkway near South Corder Road. They want to remind you to drive safely, especially on holiday weekends.

For some people keeping others safe from drunk drivers is a personal mission.

"I've been there. I've experienced that. I've lost a family member to an impaired driver," Sergeant Evans said.

Sergeant Randy Evans lost his cousin more than a decade ago.

"So, I have a special passion for that, to keep people safe," Sergeant Evans said.

Evans says driving sober this holiday weekend is essential.

"If you are going to part take, have a ride, make a plan, or stay where you are at. I urge the drivers that are out to be diligent in your driving, watch other vehicles beside you and what's approaching, so in the event that you need to, you can stop or take evasive action to avoid a crash that could result in a serious injury or fatality," Sergeant Evans said.

Evans says that in Georgia, fines, jail time, and a suspended license are just a few consequences for first-time DUI offenders.

"So, just a multitude of fines and money that you would spend, as just a matter of making a phone call for a ride or staying can be avoided," Sergeant Evans said.

The state's data shows, in 2019, there were two fatalities. In 2020, there were six.

"As far as my job being in traffic, I guess you could say literally despise, is having to go to somebody's house, knock on the door at 2, 3, 4 a.m., or even mid-day if we work an impaired driving fatality, and let them know a loved one was killed in an impaired driving crash," Sergeant Evans said.

"I definitely drive more cautiously, especially with the holidays, and not everyone thinks about other people's kids," Gonzales said.

Jasmin Gonzales is a mom of two. She says not everyone thinks about who they could be hurting.

"You could make a family not complete with one bad decision," Gonzales said.

Evans says he wants folks to be happy and healthy in the New Year.

"You know the life that you save, just maybe yours," Sergeant Evans said.

The police department has another drunk driving warning sign on the other side of the city. It's all to remind you that your life can change instantly.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, Sergeant Evans said, on South Corder Road, they had a non-fatal traffic accident that more than likely involved alcohol. He said the driver hit another car by crossing over the middle line.

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