Kennewick PD to conduct patrol honoring young woman killed by drunk driver

Kennewick

Image credit: Kennewick Police Department, Facebook

KENNEWICK, Wash. — In honor of a young woman who was killed by a drunk driver in Richland exactly 16 years ago, officers from the Kennewick Police Department (KPD) will conduct patrols to crack down on DUI suspects.

According to a social media notice from the KPD, 22-year-old Sami Semmern was struck and killed by a drunk driver on August 12, 2006 at the intersection of WA-240 & Van Giesen St in Richland. They offered the following comments on how they plan to commemorate Sami by keeping the streets safe:

Recognizing life lost and taking action to help prevent further fatalities in our community is the only way to honor her family and friends. Together let’s make sure to plan ahead before celebrating, don’t let friends or family drive under the influence and don’t provide to minors.

RELATED: Yakima’s latest drunk driving incident highlights severity of 2022 DUI spike

According to the annual crime report compiled by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC), there were 149 DUI arrests in Kennewick last year including four that included juveniles. They accounted for 19% of Group B tier arrests, which are lower-level yet still serious crimes that include trespassing, family violations and disorderly conduct charges.

When moving from Kennewick to Richland, the DUI arrests accounted for22.6% of Group B arrests in 2021. Although the total number of DUI arrests was lower (109), the overall total of Group B offenses resulting in arrest also had a much lower sample size with 482 arrests.

RELATED: Felony suspect ran red light, hit driver while trying to evade DUI charge

According to an estimate by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one person died from a drunk-driving crash every 45 minutes in the United States and the rate increased by 14% from 2019 to 2020.

Drinking and driving is a serious danger to you and everyone around you—it’s not worth it.

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