Police intern's video aims at drunk driving
- Article by: SUZANNE WEISS
- Associated Press
- September 2, 2013 - 12:06 AM
MANITOWOC, Wis. — Jonathan Mills, an inmate at Fox Lake Correctional Institution, fights back tears as he speaks of that fateful night more than 10 years ago when he drove drunk, killing two Manitowoc County teens and injuring two other passengers in the Pontiac Grand Am he was driving.
"I'm dearly sorry," said Mills, 31, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for their deaths. "I'm so sorry for the pain that I've caused. If I could go back and change the choices I made that night, I would."
Mills and Tammi Casper, mother of victim Vanessa Casper, who died in the crash at age 15, spoke about the impact of that night in the Manitowoc Police Department video, "Drunk Driving: The Aftermath," recently created by summer police intern Amy Rockwell, HTR Media reported (http://htrne.ws/16SLAS7).
"It took a piece of my life away when it happened," said Casper, who was brought to tears during the video interview. "There's a void. There's always going to be a void."
Mills was driving drunk and speeding in the 1600 block of South 10th Street on Jan. 25, 2003, when he hit a utility pole with such force it tore the car in half, killing passengers Casper, of Manitowoc, and Sean Beatty, 17, of Two Rivers. Injured were Manitowoc residents Terry Pribyl, who was 22 at the time, and Rebecca Kafka, 25 at the time, according to news reports.
Capt. Scott Luchterhand said the department thought the educational video would be a good idea in light of recent drunken driving deaths in the county.
"We're very happy to have it to show to kids in the community as to what can happen," Luchterhand said.
Police plan to play the film on the video monitor in the department lobby as well as in front of various audiences in the community. Comcast, which aided in its production and filming, also plans to air the video.
Mills "wanted to make sure other people don't make the same mistakes he had made," Luchterhand said.
"It will make an impact on people," Rockwell said. "It will make them think twice. That's what I'm hoping, at least."
Rockwell, who lives in Manitowoc and graduated from Lincoln High School in 2008, is a student at Rasmussen College in Green Bay, where she will receive her bachelor's degree in criminal justice in September. The internship with the police department counts as part of her studies.
The video that she made, with the guidance of Crime Prevention Sgt. Bruce Jacobs, shows how long-lasting the effects of drunken driving can be, Rockwell said.
The accident took its toll both emotionally and financially, Jacobs said.
Not only must Casper now visit her daughter at the cemetery, she is still paying for funeral expenses, Rockwell said.
In addition to spending the prime of his life in prison, Mills has lost friends and disappointed family members by his actions. He lives on $10 every two weeks, he said on the video.
The community also pays for those who were injured in the accident and can't work, Jacobs said.
In 2011, excessive alcohol use cost Manitowoc County some $117 million. According to the video, that broke down to $1,437.82 per resident. Excessive alcohol use that year contributed to 889 arrests, 665 hospitalizations and 27 deaths in Manitowoc County, said the video.
"Drunk driving really affects pretty much everybody," Rockwell said. "It affects the family, the friends, the community."
This is an AP Member Exchange shared by HTR Media
© 2013 Star Tribune