Sunday, August 24 2014 12:56 AM EDT2014-08-24 04:56:42 GMT
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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - On the night before Christmas Eve last year, a Madisonville family was on their way to their grandparents when a minivan, driving the wrong way, crashed into them.
Scott and Michele Barhorst of Madisonville were killed, their nine year old daughter critically injured.
The driver of the minivan was leaving a Christmas party and police believe alcohol was a factor. He was killed along with his seven year old son.
Alcohol related accidents typically spike during the holiday season, and with Christmas just days away, Tennessee Highway Patrol officers are cracking down.
"We will have extra patrols out, extra personnel on the roadways and we will have saturation patrols where we'll take a lot of troopers and concentrate on certain areas where data has shown we have a high number of crashes or alcohol impaired crashes," explained THP Lt. Don Boshears.
In 2011, the most recent year for statistics, 931 people were killed in drunk driving accidents between Thanksgiving and New Year's; and 28 were in Tennessee.
Lt. Boshears says the holiday season means heavy traffic on the roads, and with people celebrating the season, more people will drink and drive.
"First it's very simple, don't do it. You know you're going, make plans, designate a driver. If you're hosting a party, allow for people to stay with you. Make arrangements to get home. There are so many options out there. Just don't drink and drive," urged Lt. Boshears.