EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — Keeping people safe on the roadways from impaired drivers including military heroes is the goal of law enforcement agencies across the state with Memorial Day Weekend around the corner and COVID19 restrictions easing.
Senior Airman Kristopher G. Mansfield, United States Air Force was at the height of his life, 17 years ago. He loved winter sports, his family and above all his country, but on September 6, 2004 after coming home from a tour in Iraq, everything changed when this hero was hit by a drunk driver.
“No pupil response at the scene of the crash, no brain waves, we had him on a ventilator for three days and as the head of the family I had to make that decision to turn that machine off,” said Kristopher’s father, Craig Mansfield.
Kristopher is one of many military veterans killed by impaired drivers, a deadly trend that years later continues to rise in Colorado.
The Colorado Department of Transportation said so far this year, 47 people have died because of drunk drivers in the state, and from May 2020 to May 2021, 803 impaired driving arrests have been made in El Paso County.
“These are people, this isn’t a meme it’s much more than a poster, ” said El Paso County Sheriff’s Sergeant Cliff Porter.
Porter was joined by law enforcement agencies across the state on Wednesday at the Colorado Springs Christian School do to remind drivers to help keep military heroes safe on state roadways this Memorial Day by never driving impaired.
Craig shared his son’s story just days away from the unofficial start of summer; season which historically sees the highest number of impaired driving crashes.
“It’s hard because I have to see that aftermath what they created,” said Deputy Joshua Offutt with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
Law enforcement will be stepping up enforcement across the state this weekend and are expecting more people on the roads especially with restrictions easing.
“If you decide to make that bad choice, I hope I catch you first and stop you from killing somebody,” warned Porter.
A picture of Kristopher was placed during Wednesday’s event reading, ‘he survived a tour of duty in Iraq, only to be killed by a drunk driver a few weeks after returning home.’
“I don’t want anybody else to be dragged through this nightmare it never stops,” said Craig.