Rise in DUI-related deaths makes for ‘summer of shame’

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SAN CARLOS, Calif. — In the summer, temperatures typically rise and this summer, there is another kind of spike — the number of deaths caused by drunk drivers.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis says 11 people have been killed since May because of drunk driving. The DA says that’s on pace to surpass 2014’s 16 DUI-related deaths.

“This has been the summer of shame,” Dumanis said.

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said officers will be out in full force Labor Day weekend and offered a warning to drivers.

“For those who make the decision to drink and drive, you will be arrested. And you will go to jail,” Zimmerman said.

City leaders say many drivers aren’t taking the right steps to plan ahead before they go out.

Lance Rodgers lost his friend Rocio Leamon mid-August. Prosecutors say a drunk driver slammed into her while she was walking on Navajo Road in San Carlos. The prosecutor says the driver was going so fast, Leamon flew 57 feet before landing and died soon after.

“If we can stop one tragedy from happening this holiday weekend, then no one else is in my position and going through what I’m going through,”Rodgers said.

Twenty-four people were arrested for DUI charges in 2014 on Labor Day. City leaders hope drivers make better choices this weekend.

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