INDIANAPOLIS — The goal of the Indiana State Police this holiday season is to prevent heartbreak for Indiana families due to reckless and intoxicated driving.
"The last thing we want to do, especially during the holiday period, is knock on a family’s door relaying bad information," Sgt. Matt Ames said.
State police are ready to ramp up patrols to keep the roads safe for Thanksgiving. Especially from drunk drivers.
"That is my trauma right there, getting that call in the middle of the night," said Yolanda Coriano, the mother of Julian Tinoco.
Yolanda received that unnerving phone call on December 10 that her son had died in a crash.
"Just waking up feeling like you are in a nightmare. Just getting that, confusion of that, and realizing that this is real," Coriano said.
Her son, Julian, was hit by a drunk driver just a mile from his home.
"This isn't meant to be this way. This was a 20-year-old child," Coriano said. "Had a whole life to live. In college, doing the right thing. He was on his way home. Driving past that is how I get to my home several times a day."
The pain she feels is still buried within her every day without her son.
"Reflecting on Thanksgiving. Because leading from Thanksgiving into knowing that this day is coming. Another anniversary, another year that he's gone. Something changes in a year, and your heart," Coriano said.
That's why Coriano said efforts made by ISP to help prevent reckless and impaired driving are so important this time of year.
"It's saying we know that this is what's out there on the roads and that people are doing," Coriano said.
"This allows our officers to be out there patrolling, looking for intoxicated drivers, people driving aggressively, people that are not wearing seat belts and driving while distracted," Ames said.
Safe family travel operations begin before thanksgiving each year and run through New Year’s Day.
This extra enforcement is funded with grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).
"ISP wants everyone to have a good Thanksgiving holiday period, but we want to make sure that you are out there doing it safely. Please help us make the roadways safe for everyone," Ames said.
In Indiana, 932 people lost their lives on the road last year, a 4% increase from 2020. State police say of those fatalities, 12 occurred during the Thanksgiving holiday season.
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