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A Local Family Wants to Help You Celebrate New Year's Eve Safely

GARDEN PRAIRIE - A local family wants to prevent others from experiencing the pain of losing a loved one to drunk drivers.
GARDEN PRAIRIE - For those of you who plan to celebrate the new year at your favorite pub, the most important thing to do is to develop a plan to protect yourself and everyone else on the drive home.

It's something Kelly and Art Krenzer wish the man who killed their son had done. Three and half years ago, Justin Bartlett killed their 20-year-old son, Christopher Krenzer, in a drunk driving crash.

Christopher's mom, Kelly Krenzer, says, "He's [Bartlett's] alive. He gets to see his family. He gets to see his children. We don't get to see our son."

Christopher was on his way to his grandparents home when the crash happened. Bartlett was also 20-years-old at the time. Art Krenzer, Christopher's dad, says it was his second DUI.

He adds, "There is no reason why he [Christopher]has to give his life for someone else to go out and drink and find their way home in a drunken state "

How can tragedies like this be prevented? The Krenzer's say having a designated driver is key. They stipulate that a designated driver isn't someone who has had less to drink than you have. A true designated driver is someone who has not consumed any alcohol at all.

"We want people to go out and have fun, enjoy themselves. But, before they go out, they need to have a plan in place how they're going to get home," Art states.

But, what do you do if you don't have a plan or a designated driver to call? Don't worry and don't drive anyway. The Winnebago County Sheriff's Department can give you the help you need. It is all a part of their 33rd annual Sheriff's New Year's Eve Ride Home Program. It's designed to give party-goers a free ride home from any location within Winnebago County to any location within the county.

It's a move that Kelly Krenzer truly applauds, "They're the best. They truly are. They're out there to try to keep us safe."



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