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Why Repeat Drunk Drivers Get Behind The Wheel

May 5, 2010, 9:15 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Why Repeat Drunk Drivers Get Behind The Wheel
SIOUX FALLS, SD - They drink, they drive, they get arrested, and repeat the pattern all over again. Repeat drunk drivers have been behind the wheel of many crashes, police chases, and fatal accidents this spring. So, why do drunk drivers who've already been convicted once, twice, or even three times of DUI get behind the wheel again?

Ben Granville of Keystone Treatment Center says chronic drunk drivers are so addicted to alcohol they can't help but get behind the wheel. 

"They'll continue to drink despite the fact that they know they're going to continue to have negative consequences," Granville said.

Thirty three-year-old Benny Luna, and 24-year-old Kevin Mays were both charged with their third DUI after hitting and killing Justin Jarman while he walked down a Sioux Falls street.

Forty two-year-old Shawn Hofer and 29-year-old Brandon Lee Anderson lead Sioux Falls Police on two separate high speed chases back in March. Hofer was arrested for his fourth DUI, Anderson for his seventh.

Granville says many alcoholics even drink to cope with the fact that they were caught.

"They may go out and drink the night before they are due in court for DUI. That alcohol sort of clouds their judgement," Granville said.

That happened in the case of Kevin Mays who was waiting to be sentenced for his second DUI when he was arrested for hitting and killing Jarman last week.

And while the chronic drunk drivers may spend a few years behind bars experts say they may never change unless they get professional treatment, and even that may take a lifetime.

"It's a lifelong process though. For those people they are going to be in some sort of program probably for most of their lives," Granville said.

Keystone Treatment does work with several clients through court-ordered counseling. They say not only does the alcohol cloud the judgement of chronic drunk drivers, but the heavy drinking causes brain damage which will also affect their decisions. 

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