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Indiana State Police see major spike in OWI cases across the state

Amid a cry from grieving families for it to end
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Posted at 8:54 PM, Sep 11, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana state police say they're seeing an alarming rise in the number of people driving under the influence.

It's a problem that can have devastating consequences.

ISP numbers show the major spike in cases they are seeing just with their agency.

In all of 2022, statewide, ISP investigated 2787 DUI cases. As of 9/8/23 they have investigated 2737 OWI cases.

  • 2023, 2737 OWI cases (as of 9/8/23)
  • 2022, 2686 OWI cases
  • 2021, 2787 OWI cases
  • 2020, 2794 OWI cases
  • 2019, 1920 OWI cases

"When you make that choice you're taking away the aspect of it being an accident. It's a purposeful decision. You are taking a risk not just with your own life but with other people's lives," Melanie Oldham said.
Oldham lost her 18-year-old son, Issac, to a drunk driver.

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A cross marks the intersection of 5 points and Shelbyville on Indy's Southeast side.

Issac Oldham was hit and killed, just a stop sign away from home.

On September 26, 2019, police say a woman blew through a stop sign hitting him.

"They told us he was dead and I remember Ezra fell face first into the grass just screaming for his brother," Melanie said.

The woman responsible was convicted for driving drunk, documents show her blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit.

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It's the reality that so many families face, losing a loved one to drunk driving.

"People think they're invincible. Most people don't understand the severity of it because they've never experienced it," Issac's sister Eva said.

Issac's family says his death was preventable.

Indiana State Police Master Trooper Nick Klinghammer says they're seeing a rise in people driving under the influence.

"We're finding intoxicated after the bars close at 2 am, we're finding intoxicated drivers at 6 in the morning, 7 in the morning," Klinghammer said.

The problem, police say is happening all over.

Marion County Sheriff's Office numbers show from August 31st to September 8th there were at least 27 people booked for driving while drunk.

"I almost wonder if there's more people they're not catching. People who get away with it. To know that it is that frequent is kind of mind blowing," Rhonda Oldam said.

ISP district 52, Indianapolis, there has also been a spike in OWI cases they've investigated.

  • 2023, 450 OWI cases (as of 9/8/23)
  • 2022 410 OWI cases
  • 2021 347 OWI cases
  • 2020, 307 OWI cases
  • 2019, 212 OWI cases

"There are reminders every day, there's not a day that goes by that he's not in the back of my mind," Eva said.
It's something Isaac's family wants to put an end to.

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"If you can't spend $15 on an Uber but you can spend $15 more on a long island. I think you need to weigh your choices," Melanie said. "It could cost you your life and it could cost you your freedom. So my message is just think about it before you get behind the wheel."