Maryland looked back on the lives of 120 residents lost to impaired driving in the past year on Monday, and Gov. Larry Hogan announced that evening that a grant would reduce those losses going forward. .
On Monday, Maryland reconsidered the lives of 120 residents lost to impaired driving in the past year, and Gov. Larry Hogan announced a grant that could reduce those losses in the future.
Speaking at the 18th annual Maryland Remembers event, Hogan said the state has been working hard to enact new laws to reduce the number of deaths from driving under the influence.
“With your support, we enacted Noah’s Law, to require immobilizers for anyone convicted of impaired driving in Maryland,” Hogan said. “After a multi-year effort, we successfully enacted the Drunk Driving Repeat Offender Act to impose tougher penalties on intoxicated and drugged offenders.”
The Drunk Driving Repeat Offender Act underwent its first test earlier this year. In May 2020, Todd Beaker, 58, who had eight previous impaired driving convictions, crashed head-on into Bennett Kriewald, 27, disabled as a result of the crash.
Kriewald’s mother Kimberly Sizemore spoke at the ceremony, saying her son took time off that day to attend his grandmother’s funeral. It was 2:30 p.m. when he was struck by Beaker as he was exiting a store.
Before the crash, Sizemore said, Kriewald was an electrician, had just closed a house on the water and was about to buy a boat. But the collision changed everything. Due to his injuries, he lost his job, could not climb a ladder or fully bend his hand, and had difficulty walking.
“He cannot continue in this career that he has spent years building on, to fully enjoy the lifestyle he has worked so hard for,” said Kriewald. “The ongoing financial implications, medical bills, lost wages, inability to work, are devastating for Bennett and continue to this day.”
While nothing will repair the damage done to his son, Sizemore found some solace in the new law which allowed harsher penalties for the man who beat Bennett.
“Todd Beaker was given two consecutive 10-year sentences for his impaired driving convictions,” Sizemore said. “Now I can breathe easier knowing he’s officially off our roads. “
But she said each of us can do something to try and reduce the number of impaired driving tragedies.
“On the day of Bennett’s accident, someone saw Todd Beaker trip over the liquor store and allow him to get back to his car and his driver’s seat,” she said. “Please, if you see someone driving impaired, take action and stop those involved. “
Hogan also announced that Maryland has secured a grant from the Governors Highway and Safety Association which he hopes will reduce impaired driving during the holiday season. The grant will provide $ 10 carpooling credits to residents of Maryland statewide. Maryland is one of five states to receive the grant.
“Last year more than 1,300 people were arrested in Maryland from Thanksgiving Day to New Years Day for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs,” Hogan said. “We hope this new creative initiative will encourage more Marylanders to make better choices.”
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