MADD launches push against drunk driving as holidays loom

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The Connecticut branch of Mothers Against Drunk Driving launched its holiday push Thursday to remind people to be safe on the roads this season with all the upcoming celebrations.

MADD CT State Executive Director Bob Garguilo says 39 percent of all fatal crashes in 2018 involved drugs and alcohol – the third highest rate in the country.

The announcement news conference in Stamford came in the wake of new details surrounding an August crash that killed 18-year-old Nishawn Tolliver and 19-year-old Kymani Antoine-Pollack.

The driver, Jerry Diaz, was arrested this week and charged with manslaughter, assault, drunk driving and reckless driving. According to his arrest warrant, police estimate Diaz was going between 91 mph and 96 mph when his car slammed into a utility pole, went airborne and hit another utility pole – breaking it in half.

Police say Diaz’s blood alcohol content was .137.

“Two people are dead that don't need to be dead basically, and it’s all on him,” says Sgt. Jeffrey Booth.

Also at the news conference was Carrie Maturo – a Darien woman who was seriously hurt in a drunk driving accident in Stamford more than two years ago. She's now using her story to try to help others.

“I was hit from behind by a drunk driver who was three times the legal limit,” says Maturo, who now struggles with severe nerve pain and partial paralysis. “I don't want to be a victim. I want to be a victor in all of this.”

Maturo and MADD officials stressed their cause isn't about being against celebrating or anti-alcohol. It's about not getting behind the wheel, especially with all the other options out there today.

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