Katie Flynn

Drunk driving kills more than 13,000 Americans a year – that’s one every 39 minutes. Authorities call it an epidemic. They say that despite all the publicity, all the education campaigns, and all the advertising over the past decade, the number of drunk-driving fatalities has not gone down.

Some prosecutors have started taking a different approach to the problem, getting so tough on drunk drivers who kill people that the penalties they exact were unheard of in the past.

As 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon reported earlier this year, one of these pioneers is Kathleen Rice, district attorney of Nassau County, New York. She believes that if you want to stop drunk driving, you have to treat it as a serious crime with serious jail time. Our story begins, however, not in a courtroom but at a wedding in Nassau County – a wedding and the tragic loss of a 7-year-old girl.

Ya, you go Rice!

I read the story as it was unfold in July 2005.

“I reached for Kate and she was on the floor. And all that was left of Kate Marie was her head, that I was able to take,” she [mom Jen] remembers.

Could anyone bare to think the mom holding her own daughter’s head? Martin Heidgen, the drunk driver got 19 years to life (is filing an appeal). Too light for taking 3 lives and ruined multiple families.

DWI Deaths: Is It Murder? IT IS.

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