Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen hosted a Stop DWI Breakfast today, Thursday, November 12, 2015 at The Factory Restaurant in Ballston Spa. The breakfast recognized and honored those individuals who work towards combating the destructive consequences of Driving While Intoxicated and Driving While Impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. District Attorney Heggen was pleased to welcome representatives from law enforcement agencies throughout Saratoga County, including Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo, along with members of his staff, representatives from the New York State Police, Saratoga Springs Police Department, Village of Ballston Spa Police Department and Town of Stillwater Police Department. Additionally, members of the Saratoga County Magistrates Association were present. The Magistrates Association is comprised of justices and their staff from the local courts throughout Saratoga County. Organizations involved in educational prevention efforts such as The Prevention Council and Cornell Cooperative Extension attended. Members of the Saratoga County Probation Department and the Saratoga County Youth Bureau were also on hand.
District Attorney Heggen was also honored to welcome several volunteer victim and offender speakers from the Saratoga County Victim Impact Panels. The Victim Impact Panel is a monthly presentation overseen by the Saratoga County Youth Bureau and moderated by The Prevention Council. The Panel is attended by defendants who have been convicted of Driving While Intoxicated and Driving While Ability Impaired and sentenced by a judge to attend the program. The Panel is designed to provide these defendants with a first-hand account and perspective of the consequences of Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired may bring. Police officers and prosecutors speak about their experiences handling such cases. The defendants also hear from speakers who have been convicted of Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired, and the effects that experience has had on those offenders. The defendants are also addressed by volunteer victim speakers. These dedicated men and women volunteer victim speakers have suffered injury themselves, or the death of a loved one as a result of someone choosing to drink and/or drug and drive. Heggen thanked “the volunteer victim speakers each month who share their stories about the terrible events which occurred after a defendant consumed alcohol or drugs and then choose to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and drive. These are preventable crimes, as an intoxicated or impaired driver chooses to drive after ingesting alcohol, drugs or a combination of both. The Victim Impact Panel speakers believe it is important to re-educate people convicted of alcohol and drug related driving offenses to the danger they put themselves and others in”.
DA Heggen also welcomed Melanie Murphy, pictured above left, the widow of Robert F. Murphy, the former Saratoga County Stop DWI Coordinator. Bob Murphy passed away this past October 12, 2015. In addition to being an outstanding multi-sport athlete, and someone who had opportunities to play both professional baseball and basketball, Murphy had a long and distinguished career as a local educator and coach. Following his retirement from teaching, Murphy went on to a second career as the Saratoga County Stop DWI coordinator. Heggen honored Bob Murphy with a Certificate of Appreciation to his family “for his dedicated service to the citizens of Saratoga County as the Stop DWI Coordinator for the County of Saratoga for 22 years”. Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo also presented Mrs. Murphy with a Citation recognizing Bob’s tenure as the Saratoga County Stop DWI Coordinator for over 22 years in Saratoga County.
The Stop DWI Breakfast is held to shine a light on the consequences and impact drinking and drugged driving have on the communities throughout Saratoga County. “As the holiday season approaches, events such as our Stop DWI Breakfast shine a light on the efforts of all who work tirelessly to educate others about the tragic consequences that can occur when people choose to consume alcohol and/or drugs, and then drive a motor vehicle.”