PITTSBURGH - A Target 11 investigation has uncovered that drivers are twice as likely to be involved in a drunk driving crash in Allegheny County than anywhere in the state.
Natalie Parkinson knows that statistic all too well.
“This is literally moments before she was killed,” she said to Investigator Rick Earle.
A cabinet in the living room of her Butler County home is filled with memories of her daughter and pieces of her car.
She said she add the car pieces “because the shape of these shards represents the shattering of our lives, of her life or all our lives.”
It has been seven years since Natalie and Roy Parkinson’s oldest daughter, Renee, was killed by a drunk driver on the Fourth of July.
“That stays with you for a lifetime. That's not something you get over,” she said.
A cross on Interstate 79 near the Wexford exit marks the spot where the 26-year-old music teacher was killed.
“The state police report shows he came up under her,” said Roy Parkinson.
“She never had a chance,” added his wife.
Target 11 obtained the data that shows during the past four years Allegheny County led the state in alcohol related crashed with 4,402.
Philadelphia is next with 2,694.
Earle showed the numbers to Pittsburgh Police Sgt. Terry Donnelly who runs the DUI task force.
“It's shocking to me that that many people are involved in alcohol related crashes,” he said
Sgt. Donnelly and others believe the hilly terrain and dark roads here in Allegheny County are contributing factors but they say they are not the only factors.
“I think one of the things we need to do better as a community is to get the word out to people that it's not acceptable,” he said
The Parkinsons, who now speak to first time DUI offendes, agree.
“It's an education thing,” said Roy Parkinson. ”It's not people saying don't drink. It's people saying don't mix the two, drinking and driving.”
“If it saves just one life it's worth it, because what we've been through is just you don't wish that on anyone, anyone ever,” said his wife.
Matthew Crowson of Brownsville is serving a 7 to 14 year sententce for the death of Renee Parkinson.
He pleaded guilty in 2008.
Police said he was going nearly 100 mph and was twice the legal limit.
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