Impaired driving tales wanted

A mother from Langley talks about the impact of her 15-year-old son’s sudden death.

A woman from Coupeville relates the sorrow of losing her 16-year-old sister after a week long coma.

The coroner has any number of shocking tales to tell. The common thread in this tragic tapestry: impaired driving.

The Impaired Driving Impact Panel of Island County (IDIPIC) speakers change each month and so does the audience, which consists mostly of people from Island County who have committed the offense of driving under the influence, minor in possession or negligent driving that is alcohol or drug-related. They are required to attend a DUI panel presentation as part of their sentence or deferred prosecution agreement.

The heart of this heart-to-heart program is the speakers, and more speakers are needed, according to IDIPIC’s Jo Hellman. IDIPIC speakers can be anyone who: has been injured in a DUI crash; has had a family member injured or killed in a DUI crash; has caused a DUI crash with injury and /or fatality; works with DUI victims or offenders; and has several years of sobriety

All prospective speakers are asked to attend at least one IDIPIC presentation to get a feel for the format. Panelists can choose to speak once a month, or once a year.

Why would someone want to be an IDIPIC speaker? People have given reasons such as “I’m hoping to turn a negative into a positive.” “It is a healing process for me.” “I think people hear the message better through the heart than the head.” “It gives me a sense of control I didn’t have with the crash.” “If just one person doesn’t drive impaired one time because of what I share, maybe I’ll have helped prevent a DUI death.”

For more information, go to or call 675-8397.

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