Gulfport chief talks about his tragedy hoping to prevent more - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport chief talks about his tragedy hoping to prevent more

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Law enforcement officers across South Mississippi want everyone to know impaired driving will not be tolerated because you are not only putting yourself in danger but you are also putting everyone else in danger.

Gulfport Police Chief Alan Weatherford said he does not want another family to live through the pain he endures.

"March 29, 2011 and it seems like yesterday, especially when I speak about it. It's like re-living it all over again. You just learn to tolerate the pain, the pain doesn't go away," Weatherford said.

His daughter, Deanna Tucker, was leaving the bridal shop just days before her wedding, when she was hit by a drunk driver and died.

"It saddens me to see so many people get arrested for DUI," Weatherford said. "If I'm going to drink, I'm not going to drive and I think we all need to take that stance, because whose family is next? It could be yours."

The chief says Gulfport police are always on the lookout for impaired drivers, but because the holiday season is often a time more people enjoy a few cocktails his officers are taking extra precautions.

Sgt. Damon McDaniel said, "We will have alcohol checkpoints in place. We will also have our electronic signboards out there with the message drive sober or get pulled over. And we will also have extra officers out for the saturation to make ourselves visible."

In 2011, Gulfport officers issued 1,283 DUI tickets, of those114 were in December.

"Take the more responsible approach call a ride, a friend, family member or actually just stay where you are at," McDaniel said.

Weatherford urges, "Plan, plan, plan, let's make these holidays as safe as possible. The last thing I want to do is go to a fatality."

Police say if you see someone driving who appears to be intoxicated you should call 911 immediately.

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