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Garretson Crash Turns Fatal

July 6, 2001, 5:00 PM

Garretson Crash Turns Fatal
One of the motorcycle riders in this weeks crash near Garretson has died. The man who hit him is charged with vehicular homicide.

He'd been in critical condition since his motorcycle was hit on the Fourth of July, 43 year old Patrick Stoddard died this morning

The deadly crash has many people in KELOLAND shaking their heads in dismay because the driver had a long history of DWI arrests.

It's also frustrating to police who lock up drunk drivers only to see many of them back behind the wheel. Nationally, one out of every three people arrested for drunk driving has been convicted of the same crime before.

The numbers hold up in the case of Lynn Peterson, whose arrest on Wednesday was his fifth DWI in the past nine years.

Sadly, police have become all too familiar with these dangerous repeaters. Frustration runs high among KELOLAND law enforcement officers when someone they've arrested for drunk driving before, puts lives in danger again.

Captain Tom Olsen of the Sioux Falls Police Department said, "The officers in the field, a lot of them are out there working pretty hard trying to remove the drunk drivers from the road and when you see a situation where one of those repeat offenders seriously injures or kills somebody, that's a tough situation."

Olson says many first-time DWI offenders learn their lesson and don't drive drunk again. The problem is with the second and third-time drunk drivers. "The offender obviously didn't learn his lesson in the course of things and maybe in some cases the law enforcement or the courts or the whole system maybe there's some areas where we could have done better along the way too."

Many people have proposed cracking down on drunk drivers by taking away their licences for good, but tougher laws can only go so far.

Olsen said, "If an individual is not allowed to drive are we taking away their livelihood such that they aren't able to work and earn a living for their family? So that whole issue comes into play."

Olsen says many people who've had their drivers licenses revoked like Peterson, go ahead and drive anyway. They see driving as a right, not a privilege that can be taken away with a drunk driving conviction.

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