Horror of Missoula Mom Killed in Front of Children Recounted After 98 DUIs in August
The state of Montana has long struggled with the issue of drunk driving, but for Missoula county attorney Kirsten Pabst, the issue is personal.
Early in her career as an attorney, Pabst saw the tragic results of Drunk Driving first hand when she handled a case involving a young mother who was killed by a drunk driver.
"It was the winter time," Pabst recalled. "There was a woman walking down the street with her two kids. We had a lot of snow that year with big berms and it forced them to walk a bit further out into the roadway, because the sidewalks were covered. Then a drunk driver came along and swerved and hit the mom, she flew into the air and died in front of the kids. Then the driver went and hid his car for several days."
It was a harsh lesson for Pabst, but it’s a lesson Missoula apparently hasn’t learned.
"It really made a big impact on me. I had been prosecuting misdemeanor DUIs up until that point, and it was then where it came over me 'this is why we do this, this is why we care... because of these kids that have no mother... because of this mom who lost her life tragically. We still have an issue with this, just in August, we had 98 DUIs."
According to Pabst, in just the past five years there have been 25 DUI related fatalities in Missoula County. Of the 98 DUIs last month 8 were felonies, which mean the driver had been found guilty of driving under the influence at least three times before.