Drunk drivers continue to wreck havoc
Drunk drivers continue to cause heartache on Minnesota roads. A Starbuck man with two past DWI convictions swerved across Highway 29 near Stabuck Saturday night, crashing into an SUV containing a family from Marshall. Even though everyone was belted in, 5-month-old Drake Bigler was killed, his father Brad was critically injured, his mother Heather and Great Grandmother Sharon Schuler of Granite Falls were also hurt. The driver that hit them was 38-year-old Dana Schoen of Starbuck. Schoen was not hurt, and alcohol was detected in his system (reportedly at .351), and according to The Marshall Independent..."Schoen has two past convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol, both in Pope County. Schoen pleaded guilty to DUI charges in July 2000, and pleaded guilty to second degree DWI charges in January 2005, court records said. In both cases, his blood-alcohol content was reported as higher than .20, court records said. Minnesota's drunk driving limit is .08. Brad Bigler suffered several broken ribs and a broken shoulder blade. He also suffered a punctured lung." Bigler, 33, is coach of the Southwest Minnesota State University Basketball team, and suffered a blow in June of 2011 when his mother drowned while they were kayaking on Hawk Creek near Sacred Heart. That was a tragic accident, but the traffic crash was no accident. It has all the appearances of a chronic drunk driver who again made a choice to drink and get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. So what do you do with people like that? If he is convicted of criminal vehicular homicide, Schoen will likely get a few years in prison. He'll get out when he's still in his 40s, and even though he won't have a drivers' license, odds are he'll re-offend. And this is not an isolated case. Even though great progress has been made in cutting down on drunk driving, it still continues. I have two sons who are just starting their adult lives and while you can't protect them forever, I feel dread in my heart every time my phone rings after 10 p.m., fearing it's some bad news that they were in the path of a drunk driver. I would be in favor of lengthy incarceration of chronic drunk drivers and repeat sex offenders. Society needs to be protected from those who can't or won't be treated or cured. How about chain gangs? Put them to work building roads or infrastructure that government doesn't seem to have the money to pay for.