If you look closely at a red ribbon on a Wichita area cop car the next two months, you’ll see a name.
The 440 ribbons have names of 440 victims of crashes where one of the drivers was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The DUI Victims Center of Kansas and St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral are providing the red ribbons to be put on police, sheriff and highway patrol cruisers in the Wichita area during the holiday season.
“Each year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day we see an increase in alcohol and other drugged driving,” the DUI Victims Center said in a news release.
The ribbons will be tied to the antennas of patrol vehicles with the Wichita Police Department, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and Kansas Highway Patrol, in addition to other agencies in the state.
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Mary Ann Khoury, president and CEO of the DUI Victims Center, has her name on one of the ribbons.
Khoury said she was injured in a 1971 crash while stopped at a red light near Harry and Pattie. A drunk college student going 80 mph in the wrong lane crashed head-on into her car.
The victims center has provided ribbons to law enforcement for the past 23 years, and Khoury said their mission of raising awareness and providing services to victims and their families will always be needed.
“As long as people consume alcohol and get behind a wheel of a car — or drugs, or prescription drugs or anything that impairs their ability to drive — there will always be drunk drivers and there will always be victims,” she said.
Last month, a Valley Center man was charged with killing an off-duty Wichita police officer and his son while driving under the influence.
James Neal Dalrymple is charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence after an April 27 crash killed former officer Stacey L. Woodson and his son Braeden E. Woodson.
The victims center and church are also providing holiday food items on Friday to Wichita-area law enforcement agencies.