On November 29, 2023, Yates County conducted a Drunk/Impaired Driving Victim Impact Panel (VIP), sponsored by the Yates County STOP DWI Program.
Held at the County Office Building auditorium at 7:00 p.m., the panel was aimed at educating individuals convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs about the severe consequences of their actions. Sheriff Ron Spike, who chairs the Task Force VIP, emphasized the importance of understanding the victimization caused by impaired driving.
The event saw the attendance of 22 court-ordered offenders, who underwent check-in procedures, including magnetometer screening and breath testing, overseen by Sheriff’s Deputies, Penn Yan Police Officers, and Yates County Probation Officers. The session was organized by STOP Program’s VIP Coordinator Linda Wright, with Penn Yan Police Chief Thomas Dunham outlining the session’s rules. District Attorney Todd Casella spoke on the legal repercussions of impaired driving, stressing the gravity of creating crime victims.
The highlight of the evening was a poignant presentation by Michelle Curtin, a teacher whose mother, also a kindergarten teacher, tragically lost her life in a collision with a drunk driver. Curtin’s story, illustrating the far-reaching impact of such incidents, resonated deeply with the attendees, driving home the message of responsibility and the irreversible damage caused by drunk driving. The session concluded with the participants receiving certificates of attendance for court verification, lasting approximately 70 minutes. VIP Coordinator Linda Wright summed up the event’s ethos, emphasizing the importance of making responsible choices to avoid fatal consequences.
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