Law enforcement will deploy two impaired driving apprehension teams totaling over 40 officers, deputies and troopers Sat., Aug. 22, to both sides of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
“We’re putting some of our most experienced officers on the road to detect, test and arrest impaired drivers,” says Mike Mitchell, chief of the Bonney Lake Police Department and the Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force.
The special patrol will be dedicated to the memory of Rodger D. Hickel who was killed in the early morning hours of Oct. 4, 2005, while on his way to work by a 14-year-old impaired driver on SR 302. It’s also dedicated to Jessica Zoe Torres, a young mother of two, who died after her vehicle was hit head-on on Clear Creek Road in Kitsap County on Jan. 21, 2008.
Family members and friends of both victims, as well as law enforcement, will attend a short ceremony at the Gig Harbor Civic Center at 7 p.m. Saturday night to remember Hickel and Torres. “As sad as these dedications are, we do them to help families keep the memory of their loved ones alive,” says Mike Davis, chief of the Gig Harbor Police Department and former chair of the Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force. “We also do them to stress to motorists that driving under the influence is risky, costly and deadly.”
The Third Annual Bridge to Bridge DUI Emphasis Patrol, sponsored jointly by the traffic safety task forces in both Pierce and Kitsap counties, is held this year in conjunction with the statewide Drive Hammered Get Nailed campaign, which began last weekend. On Aug. 15, a multi-agency team of 18 working in Fife, Sumner, Bonney Lake, Puyallup and surrounding Pierce County netted 19 arrests of impaired drivers.
The two-county patrol encompassing areas around the Tacoma Narrows and Hood Canal Bridges will begin this Saturday at 8 p.m. It will target city, county and state roads in Kitsap County where impaired driving is prevalent. Officers also will work Highway 16 and other DUI hot spots including some in Gig Harbor, Tacoma, University Place, Fircrest and Fife.
Sue Hickel, widow of Rodger Hickel, also will be making a plea Saturday night for Ryan Kelly, who fatally injured her husband, to contact her through the Gig Harbor Police Department.
To assist her in emotionally healing after the crash, Hickel’s widow wants to meet face to face with Kelly who served 63 weeks plus 90 days for vehicular homicide and other charges connected with the crash. Hickel wants to ensure that Kelly, now 19, fully understands the human consequences of his crime. Hickel says she would like to potentially forgive Kelly for his life-taking actions since he was underage at the time of the crash and may not have had all the support he needed to avoid alcohol and drugs.