Stockton’s mother warns of DUIs ahead of New Years weekend

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Destanee Little, 18, was killed by a drunk driver 11 years ago between Lodi and Stockton. Her mother tries to keep her memory alive.

STOCKTON, California – Hardly a day goes by that Stockton’s Barbie Little thinks of her 18-year-old daughter, Destanee Little, who was killed by a drunk driver 11 years ago.

“I want to be here. I want to keep her memory alive. I want to talk about her,” Little said.

His daughter was a graduate of Stagg High School and was attending San Joaquin Delta College with the goal of becoming a police officer.

“She was absolutely the girl everyone would want. She was very active in school,” Little said.

For Little, everything changed on June 12, 2010.

Her daughter was driving home from Lodi with her boyfriend and her friend to the intersection of West Lane and Armstrong Road around 11:30 p.m.

She was driving a 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme when she was suddenly struck from behind by a sedan. The cutlass struck an electric pole, leaving the car with a mutilated piece of metal.

Desturée died at the scene.

Her boyfriend and her friend were seriously injured but survived.

Benjamin Serratos, 29, was convicted of second degree murder as well as manslaughter while intoxicated.

He was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.

He was already on strike after serving three years in state prison from 1999 to 2002 in San Joaquin County for disorder, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

“As parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends, everyone has lost her,” Little said.

On Thursday, she continued her crusade to remind everyone not to drive during what should be a very busy holiday weekend on the roads.

This year, New Year’s Eve falls on a weekend.

At the Stockton CHP office, San Joaquin County law enforcement has stood in solidarity to warn people not to get behind the wheel while intoxicated or using narcotics and to avoid driving aggressively .

“You choose to do it. And, as such, when you do, you risk and endanger the lives of everyone in our community,” said San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar.

According to the Stockton Police Department, 10 people died in crashes in 2021 where alcohol was determined to be a factor.

It has been noted that impaired driving accidents have increased over the past two years.

“Some people may feel the stress of COVID. They may have other issues in their communities, or they may make the wrong choice to get behind the wheel while impaired,” said Josh Ehlers, deputy chief of the CHP Valley division. .

Either way, Barbie Little’s message on behalf of her daughter is clear: “Be a hero. Be a designated driver.”

According to the CHP, if you are charged with impaired driving, it will cost you $ 10,000 and even more if you add the increases in insurance costs, court costs, property damage and more.

The maximum period of performance of the CHP begins on Friday evening at 6:01 p.m. and continues until Sunday midnight.

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