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Family hopes billboard stops drunken drivers

March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day has become the biggest drinking holiday in the state. Unfortunately, that means the number of drunken drivers on the road also skyrockets.

Loved ones of Corrie Damske, a 34-year-old Wauwatosa native who was killed when her car was struck by a drunken driver in January, hope that a new billboard will get people to think about the potential impact of getting behind the wheel intoxicated this week.

The public service message billboard shows the grim reaper behind the wheel and the letters D, I and E from the words "Don't Drink and Drive" in red.

"I don't want others to go through this type of tragedy, and if the billboard helps one person not drink and drive, or one family who decides not to go out on St. Patrick's day because drunks will be on the road, that will be something positive that comes out of Corrie's senseless death," friend Michelle Friedman said.

Friedman approached billboard company Clear Channel Outdoor about donating space for a service announcement. Not only did the business agree to run the message that was unveiled Saturday overlooking the Interstate 94 corridor at 25th and Clybourn streets in Milwaukee, but also on seven other billboards.

In addition to the 800,000 drivers who should see the message, Friedman hopes politicians will get inspired to fight for stricter laws and punishment.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said it's a powerful message and has good placement as far as timing and location.

The Southeast Wisconsin Multijurisdictional Task Force will be out in force from 6 a.m. March 17 to 4 a.m. March 18 in Wauwatosa.

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