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Counselor helps and deputies react to high DUI statistics in Douglas County

Counselor helps and deputies react to high DUI statistics in Douglas County
Posted at 10:17 PM, Jun 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-01 23:22:12-04

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Neb. (KMTV) — Behind the door into Serenity Matters Counseling, there are seven who chose to get behind the wheel after drinking and got busted for driving under the influence.

They met with Crystal Browning-Prince for eight hours Saturday in what she calls a psycho-educational class which is ordered either by a judge or probation officer. She says a misunderstanding about alcohol and serving size can lead to one of the biggest mistakes of your life.

"We break down what an actual serving size is and they are probably consuming more than they should," Browning-Prince said.

A study by QuoteWizard.com shows that there are 3.21 drunk driving fatalities per 100,000 people in Douglas County. Omaha ranks as the 19th highest city when it comes to drivers with DUI's in the country.

Douglas County deputies are surprised to see these numbers, and they don't want you waiting for your own experience to hit home before you become proactive about avoiding drunk driving.

Deputies out patrolling the streets Saturday night say it's common to find drunk drivers, but the number of fatalities per people in Douglas County are a shock.

"It's alarming because the numbers are so high," Deputy Teshaunta Tiller said. "To just go out there drinking and possibly causing and accident and taking someone's life, plan ahead."

Deputy Tiller can't stress the importance of having a plan before the night starts, whether you're going to a bar or a friend's house. Using a service like Uber or Lyft can save you lots of money down the road.

"You know that $10 or $12 or whatever the cost of a ride is will be better than getting behind the wheel," she said.

Back at Serenity Matters Counseling, Crystal is printing off certificates of completion for those who finished the class. She hopes she's put them on a better path to being responsible.

"Some individuals do chose to re-offend and chose not to seek services," she said. "The chance of re-offending is then increased."

A first time DUI offense in Nebraska can lead to seven days in jail and fines starting at $500.