John Eric Hartfield of Greenwood was among many people on hand this morning as Troop 2 of the Highway Patrol joined with local law enforcement to kickoff “Sober or Slammer,” a campaign to reduce Driving under the Influence in the upcoming Labor Day Holiday weekend. Hartfield borrowed a Highway Patrol hat from Lt. Dennis Kelly of the Patrol’s Greenwood Office as we took his picture at the event, held in front of the Clinton Public Safety offices on North Broad at 11:00 this morning.
Hartfield was almost killed in a head-on crash July 11, 2003 when his vehicle was struck head-on by another that was driven by a drunk driver. He told WLBG News that even though he survived the wreck, which was not initially a certainty, his life changed dramatically. He had just recently been accepted to attend the University of South Carolina when the terrible crash occurred. Now he is appearing with the Highway Patrol to stress the need to drive safety, wearing seat belts, drive the proper speed and not driving while under the influence.
Captain David Yongue of Troop 2 said that the Highway Patrol will be working with local law enforcement to crack down on Drunk Driving over the Labor Day Weekend through their “Sober or Slammer” campaign. He noted that while overall highway deaths across South Carolina are lower that last year, the goal is no fatalities, fatalities are up by eleven in the seven counties that make up Troop 2, which include Laurens County. Troop 2 now has 30 deaths for 2014, compared with 19 at this time in 2013. Captain Yongue He unveiled a “Target Zero SC” logo, emphasizing that no number of highway deaths is acceptable. He said in addition to the usual media outlets pushing the “Sober or Slammer” campaign, they’re also asking residents to help especially with reaching younger drivers through social media by sharing the #TargetZeroSC.