SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — New numbers show drunk driving fatalities have more than doubled this year in Sacramento and other nearby counties.
Tamera Trotter's family was forever changed last month when a suspected drunk driver crashed into her parents' car, killing her 84-year-old step-mom Carole and leaving her 81-year-old father Ivan with critical injuries.
"My dad was ejected 15 feet from the vehicle," Trotter said. "The vehicle split in half."
The suspect fled the scene on foot but was later arrested for DUI and manslaughter.
"What he did has devastated my family," Trotter said.
Trotter and her sister Angela are now calling on everyone to stop driving under the influence.
"We don't need to drink to be happy...It would be good if we could just have fun without the alcohol, without the drugs," Angela Udechukwu said. "Why can't we just enjoy the laughter, enjoy the singing, enjoy the gifts?"
It's a sentiment echoed by local district attorneys who are concerned about the growing number of DUI crashes.
"Our hearts break with these cases," said Morgan Gire, Placer County District Attorney. "These are cases from a prosecutor's standpoint that you remember more than others."
"These are human beings that have lost their lives," said Anne Marie Schubert, Sacramento County District Attorney.
Schubert says, so far this year, there have been 27 DUI manslaughter cases compared to only 12 last year and 11 in 2019.
So what's causing an increase in deadly DUIs across the state?
"This has been a very stressful time for everybody," said Lisa Smittcamp, Fresno County District Attorney. "Alcohol sales have gone up. Alcohol consumption has gone up. Sometimes people who are wanting a Lyft or an Uber can't find one, especially in smaller locations."
Of the rise in deadly DUIs, Schubert added, "What we're seeing since COVID is this really rapid increase."
"People just need to be responsible for their actions," Trotter said.
She is now celebrating this Christmas without her father by her side.
"He's still hospitalized," Trotter said. "He will be for another two or three months."
Prosecutors say anyone who's been convicted of one DUI can be charged with murder if they are involved in another DUI crash that is fatal.
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