The tragic death of an Exeter woman will again serve as a rallying cry to crack down on drinking and driving in Tulare County.

At 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 23 in the College of Sequoias quad, Tulare County District Attorney Phil Cline will join Lynne Goodwin of Exeter -- as well as Sheriff Bill Wittman and police chiefs of the incorporated cities in the county -- at a press conference to announce the beginning of a major traffic program targeting DUIs.

The car of Lynne's daughter, Casey Leanne Goodwin, who was killed by drunk driver, will serve as the backdrop for the press conference. Casey's car is the focal point of a mobile anti-drinking and driving exhibit that the Fresno Police Department unveiled on June 1. Bolted down inside a 30-foot trailer, Casey's crumpled 1998 Honda Civic can be seen through four large plexiglass windows on the sides of the trailer.

Casey was killed by a drunk driver on March 12, 2003. While on her way home from Cuesta College to celebrate her mother's birthday, Fernando Ochoa, 18, of Stratford, swerved into her lane and hit Casey's car head on. Ochoa had been drinking and was traveling at least 90 mph because he was late to work at a fast food establishment in Kettleman City. Ochoa's blood alcohol content was 0.19, more than twice the legal limit of .08. Casey was airlifted to University Medical Center in Fresno where she died from her injuries the following day.

The exhibit is only the third of its kind in the nation and the first to house an innocent victim's car instead of the vehicle of the DUI offender. The trailer also includes two large televisions in the front and back and four smaller TVs on the side, which continuously play an eight-minute video montage of Casey's life. The entire trailer was donated to the Central Valley chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. More than 300 towing companies, police officers, officer associations, body shops and non-profit organizations from Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Madera counties came together to help raise the money and donate services, materials and labor. The project was completely funded by donations.

DA Phil Cline said the traffic program is being paid for through a new anti-DUI grant through the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).

In a press release Cline stated: "We are honored to receive the first prosecution grant awarded by OTS in California. Although the honor is significant, it pales in contrast to the need to save the lives of our children and loved ones. Death and injury due to driving under the influence is 100 percent preventable. Those who choose to drink must also choose not to endanger our community by getting behind the wheel. Our program is designed to remind people of this choice. And for those who ignore this responsibility and hurt someone, the full resources of this office will work to see that justice is served. I ask all members of our community, young, old and in between, drink responsibly and do the right thing -- don't drink and drive."

In 2002, the more recent numbers available through OTS, Tulare County ranked 20th in the state for fatal collisions where alcohol was involved. Thirteen percent of all fatal and injury collisions in Tulare County were alcohol related. In 2003, Tulare County ranked 107th in the nation for DUI fatalities, according to the US Department of Transportation. Fifty-four percent of all crash fatalities in Tulare County were alcohol related.

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