DUI arrests and prevention effort dedicated to teen victim

by: Natasha Chen Updated:

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GRAHAM, Wash. - A special DUI emphasis patrol Saturday was dedicated to Daniel Morse, the 14-year-old who was killed by a drunk driver in Graham more than four years ago.

On Friday, new signs warning people not to drive drunk were posted in the 9800 block of 204th Street East, where Morse was killed. Morse was riding the skateboard he got for Christmas days earlier.

His mother, Evelyn Machovsky, has been through this pain before. She lost another son in 2003 in a San Diego-area crash. The other driver was also suspected of drinking.

“I have two other boys that I love dearly. I would never want to hurt them in any way. So what choice do I have? You just go on as much as possible every day,” Machovsky said.

She hoped to talk about Daniel Saturday to remind people of the pain victims’ families experience every day.

“It brings up all the memories, even more than usual, like it just happened all over again. But I’m doing it because I hope it will help somebody from having to go through what I go through,” she said.

Her two surviving sons rode along with deputies as they arrested drunk drivers Saturday night. Twenty-six officers participated in the special DUI emphasis patrol.

Officers brought suspects to the Mobile Impaired Driving Unit. The trailer even has two holding cells and is staffed with a phlebotomist.

“The officer that arrested the person has to write up a warrant, and if it comes back quick, then (the phlebotomist) is here to do the blood draw right away,” said Trooper Pedro Zepeda of the Washington State Patrol.

At the same time, another team of officers visited area bars that had been named by people who were arrested as the last place they had a drink.

The first stop was Culpeppers in Graham. Chief John Cheesman of the Fircrest Police Department talked to one of the owners.

“On the 25th of January, a subject who was arrested had one of your wristbands on,” Cheesman told the owner.

The victim in that accident died.

The owners of Culpeppers, William and Nicole Culpepper, told KIRO 7 the accident happened several hours after their last call. They also said that the wristband was the same one used by several bars in the area.

Even so, they had the state Liquor Control Board come in to teach their bartenders a secondary class on serving alcohol. The Culpeppers said they’re strict about cutting people off and helping them either sober up or get a ride home. They will also now have at least one deputy doing extra patrol at their bar on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

“We try to go above and beyond to avoid any type of situation,” said William Culpepper.

 

A representative of the state Liquor Control Board said that citations can only happen when a person is observed serving a customer who is already very drunk. But conversations and visits like this bring awareness to the problem.

When one customer in the bar learned what the officers were doing, and how the night was dedicated to Daniel Morse, she picked up her cellphone to tell someone she needed a ride home later.