Another life taken, still no answers

Although members of the community are working with state Representative Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher, and other local representatives to demand stricter driving under the influence laws that can prevent more innocent lives being taken by impaired drivers, there has to be more that can be done.
Amanda “Mandy” Starkey-Carson and Nhu Huong both lost their lives because of a fatal crash on New Year’s Eve. They were rear-ended by Craig Maker, who was already on probation for a felony DUI offense and had three previous misdemeanors for DUI.
See page 1 or www.theyukonreview.com for more information on the crash.
It was reported that Maker had a breathalyzer in his vehicle that was required by law, but was driving his mother’s vehicle, which didn’t have a breathalyzer.
My question becomes why is he even allowed to drive at all? Breathalyzer or not. As if four recorded DUI offenses isn’t enough for the authorities to realize this man shouldn’t be on the road at all, Sanders pointed out that those are only the offense on record and there could be more.
Last year Sanders authored House Bill 3146, which created the Impaired Driving Elimination Act (IDEA) and moves all DUI cases from municipal non-courts of record to a court of record, ensuring the district attorneys have access to a driver’s records.
The problem in this case is the driver of the vehicle that police say caused the crash was previously prosecuted in courts of record. It’s unknown how many, if any, DUIs he had in non-courts of record, according to a press release from Sanders.
See, that is a really big problem and a huge red flag—how many unrecorded DUI offenses has Maker had? That’s scary to think about at all.
I appreciate and respect that Sanders was paying attention and authorizing legislation that he informed people of after Mandy’s accident, and I wish more people were paying attention before her accident occurred.
I also appreciate and respect the members of the community and surrounding areas, especially within the Mandy’s Law Facebook group, who are working together to demand stricter DUI laws from their representatives.
But we all have to do more. We all should have already been doing more. Too many drunk, or otherwise impaired, drivers have gotten away with this and now we lost two innocent and beautiful lives who brought so much joy to our community. Plus two little girls will grow up without their mother because of someone else’s selfish mistake.
Drunk driving is not new and although statistically there were more DUI accidents in 2016, it’s not suddenly a problem. It has already been a problem that so many of us, including myself, simply ignored before losing Mandy and Nhu. And that’s not fair of us. While other families and communities suffered the way their friends and family as well as the Yukon and Mustang areas have suffered since losing Mandy and Nhu, we just chose to ignore it because it wasn’t affecting us personally.
That has to change. We all have to wake up. We all have to pay attention and come together to do something about this crisis.
I encourage each of you to join the Mandy’s Law Facebook group to keep up with the legislation that members of the group have been working on. If you have any ideas on DUI laws then email them to MandysLawOK@gmail.com. And most importantly, don’t wait around for someone else to try to make changes. Whether we’ve personally been affected by DUI accidents or not, we each have to stand up together to make a change that will save more innocent lives and make sure it’s very rare if someone has to suffer this way. Go to www.oklegislature.gov/FindMyLegislature2.aspx?State=OK and type in your address to find out who your local representatives are, get their contact information and send them an email or a letter with detailed information of why you’re contacting them and what you would like to see. Someone will listen, someone will get it done, and a huge difference will be made—it just takes us standing up for a cause bigger than ourselves.
Another great way to become actively involved in prevention in the community is the Yu-Can Coalition, which teachers students and people in the community about prevention and ways to stop accidents like this from happening straight at the source.
We can make a difference. We can end DUI.

Leave a Comment