Crime

DUI patrol to be held Saturday in Puyallup will honor victim of drunken driving

A DUI emphasis patrol will be held Saturday in and around Puyallup in memory of a 41-year-old Navy veteran killed by a drug-impaired driver last year.

Christopher Michael Kerns died April 17, 2014, after being hit by a car as he crossed the intersection at Meridian Street and River Road to buy a sandwich on his lunch break.

Joseph Schaffer, a 65-year-old grandfather from Olympia, was high on a cocktail of painkillers and antidepressants when he ran a red light and hit Kerns in the crosswalk. Schaffer was convicted of vehicular homicide and sentenced to five years in prison.

“Gone are the days when drunk drivers were our only concern,” said Sharon Reynon, coordinator of the Tacoma Pierce County Victim’s Panel.

The group and Kerns’ family will put up a permanent memorial sign in honor of Kerns at 4 p.m. Friday at the intersection where he was killed.

Starting at 9 p.m. Saturday, additional officers will patrol the Puyallup area for impaired drivers who might be pre-celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Five drug recognition experts will participate as well.

Law enforcement officers will hand out flyers in memory of Kerns to all the drivers they contact. . Others from the task force’s Home Safe Bar Team will visit local bars to remind them about liquor laws.

Task force members will revisit bars that overserved intoxicated drivers who are pulled over.

To ensure people who have been drinking don’t get behind the wheel Saturday, rideshare company Uber is offering free rides up to $20 with the promo code RIDESAFE2015.

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