Annual Vigil for Victims of Drunken Driving Set Sunday
|State troopers light candles for victims of drunken-driving accidents at a prior vigil.|
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire District Attorney's Office will host the 34th annual Vigil of Remembrance this Sunday, Dec. 5, at 3 p.m. at First United Methodist Church to remember the victims of impaired-driving collisions.
The annual candlelighting ceremony provides families an opportunity to reflect and honor their loved ones, spread awareness to deter others from driving under the influence, and reconfirm law enforcement's commitment to enforcing the impaired driving laws aggressively.
The program features District Attorney Andrea Harrington reading the names of each of the 53 Berkshire people who died in impaired driving collisions while State Police troopers light candles for remembrance.
High school students on the DA's Youth Advisory Board will distribute programs, provide setup and cleanup support, and read poetry during the ceremony. John Sauer will perform a musical selection.
"Our hearts continue to remain with the families and friends of those who tragically lost their lives in impaired driving collisions by coming together to honor and remember them. As we do every year, we remember how these loved ones inspire us," Harrington said.
"These deaths are preventable. My office has zero tolerance for impaired driving, and we work collaboratively with our law enforcement partners to aggressively enforce the impaired driving laws because we know that deterrence saves lives. We ask that community members support our efforts by not taking the wheel when drinking, using marijuana or other drugs."
The District Attorney's Office, State Police and Mothers Against Drunk Driving began the vigil in 1988.
Last year, the District Attorney's Office won a $166,254 grant from the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance to assign a victim witness advocate to specialize in motor vehicle homicide cases. The advocate understands the trauma motor-vehicle homicide cases pose to families and loved ones, helps them navigate the court process, and connects them with community services.
Harrington's office serves all 32 cities and towns in Berkshire County. The office represents the state in more than 7,500 criminal cases per year in Berkshire Superior Court, three district courts, three juvenile courts, Massachusetts Appeals Court, and Supreme Judicial Court.
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