Wednesday, May 25, 2016

"No Refusal Weekend" Impaired Driving Emphasis Patrol Dedicated to the Memory of Lewiston Teen Russell Raschka

Russell Raschka
Teresa Baker
Public Information Officer
700 S. Stratford Dr., Meridian 83642
(208) 884-7122
Fax (208) 884-7087

LEWISTON - Memorial Day marks the beginning of long days filled with sunshine, barbeques and activities with family and friends, however for far too many it also means that loved ones are lost in motor vehicle crashes. Memorial Day through Labor Day is known as the "100 Deadliest Days" on Idaho's roads and historically it is the time of year when there are more deaths and serious injuries due to dangerous driving behaviors.

Idaho State Police along with local law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys' offices in Latah, Clearwater, Nez Perce, Lewis and Idaho counties and the Idaho Transportation Department are partnering to stop impaired driving, one of the most deadly and preventable causes of crashes with "No Refusal Weekend," an impaired driving emphasis patrol.

During the Memorial Day weekend if any driver suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs refuses to provide an evidentiary sample, law enforcement and the prosecutor offices will seek a search warrant to obtain an evidentiary sample.

"This is the first time that law enforcement in north central Idaho has held a 'No Refusal' emphasis patrol," said Idaho State Police Sergeant Rich Adamson. "We are dedicating this event to the memory of Russell Raschka, a Lewiston teen who tragically lost his life last year at the hands of an impaired driver. Raschka's death has taken a toll on this community and we want to remind anyone who might think about getting behind the wheel after drinking that real lives are at stake, and that it is just not worth the risk of killing someone else or yourself."

Raschka was killed in April 2015 when the vehicle he was a passenger in was struck by an impaired driver. Jordan Fuller, 26 of Lewiston, pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter in February of this year. She is currently serving an 8 year prison sentence with 2 years fixed.

"Our family has suffered a tragedy. We support the efforts of law enforcement in getting drunk drivers off of our roads so that no other family has to endure what we have this past year," said a Raschka family spokesperson.

The agencies participating in the "No Refusal Weekend" include the following:

Orofino Police Department
Clearwater County Sheriff's Office
Clearwater County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
Grangeville Police Department
Kamiah Marshal's Office
Idaho County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
Moscow Police Department
Latah County Sheriff's Office
Latah County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
Lewis County Sheriff's Office
Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
Nez Perce County Sheriff's Office
Nez Perce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
Idaho State Police

Law enforcement will continue to work as one team throughout the summer with goal to reduce deadly crashes caused by dangerous driving behaviors including distracted drivers, aggressive drivers, speed, as well as, seatbelts enforcement. The Idaho Department of Transportation's Office of Highway Safety is providing grant funds that will allow law enforcement agencies to pay for extra patrols dedicated to traffic law enforcement.

You can easily avoid a becoming a DUI statistic but you must PLAN AHEAD.

- PLAN not drink and drive before you start drinking. Alcohol impairs a person's ability to determine if they should drive. You can't count on making the right decision after you've consumed alcohol!

- Designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.

- Plan to call a taxi, a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.

- Offer non-alcoholic beverages when entertaining.

- Promptly report drunk drivers to 9-1-1 or *ISP (*477) on your mobile phone.

- Wear your seat belt. This is the best defense against an impaired driver.

- Friends don't let friends drive drunk or impaired. If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their car keys and make other safe travel arrangements to get them home, or offer a spare bedroom or sofa to "sleep it off."