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Martin County Sheriff's Office posts graphic picture of recent crash to deter drunken driving

61 alcohol-related crashes in Martin County this year
Wrong-way crash in Martin County in November
Posted at 6:10 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 20:31:04-05

HOBE SOUND, Fla. — A terrifying crash last week involving a wrong-way driver in Martin County prompted law enforcement to issue a warning not to drink and drive.

The ominous wreck occurred near the intersection of U.S. 1 and Osprey Street.

It’s hard to believe no one died, or even had life-threatening injuries. 

Moments before the crash, another driver called 911. 

"We're northbound on U.S. 1, but he's in the southbound lane," phoned the caller.  "(He's driving) over 60 [mph]. I'd say close to 70 mph." 

A minute into the 911 call, the dispatcher was told that the vehicle was involved in a wreck.

"Oh! Oh, head-on with another car ma'am," the caller said. 

Deputies blame a suspected drunk driver for the crash.  

WPTV showed the picture of the wreck to John Nelson of the advocacy group Families Against Drunk Driving.

John Nelson of the advocacy group Families Against Drunk Driving
John Nelson is part of the advocacy group Families Against Drunk Driving.

"Nobody died? That's hard to fathom. That's amazing, just amazing," Nelson said. 

Nelson said this wreck could have devasted an innocent family. 

He lost his brother to a crash caused by an impaired driver and hopes this picture might deter another tragedy.

"I think it's an incredible thing," Nelson said. "They should put it up in front of the high schools." 

"The motto, 'don't drink and drive' has become white noise. We've been saying that for years and years, 'don't drink and drive,'" said Martin County Chief Deputy Sheriff John Budensiek. "Guess what? People are still drinking and driving."

Budenseik said his office is doing all it can to deter impaired drivers. 

Martin County Chief Deputy Sheriff John Budensiek
Martin County Chief Deputy Sheriff John Budensiek speaks about the frustration of drivers continuing to drive while intoxicated.

A recent Contact 5 investigation found Treasure Coast Counties stepped up DUI enforcement during the pandemic when fewer drivers were on the road. 

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office released the following updated numbers for 2021:

  • 61 alcohol-related crashes 
  • 294 DUI arrests 
  • More than 369 DUI related charges

"It shows us that we need to stay vigilant and stay on what we're doing," Budensiek said.

Nelson hopes the image of the crash stays with everyone who sees it and that law enforcement step up DUI enforcement. 

"What they should do is put up some DUI checkpoints," Nelson said.   

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