DUI Victims memorial from The Meadville Tribune on Vimeo.
By Mary Spicer
VERNON TOWNSHIP — The September day back in 2001 that’s forever burned in Ellie Luba’s memory isn’t Tuesday the 11th. It’s Sept. 9, the day her older sister made a tragic decision. Shelley Anne Marie Luba got into a car driven by someone who had been drinking — and she didn’t live to tell the tale.
Saturday afternoon, Ellie climbed a short staircase and entered a 30-foot trailer parked in the lot between Wal-Mart and Staples Plaza. Inside, she saw her sister’s name inscribed on a 25-foot memorial wall along with approximately 1,500 others.
“It’s great to see Shelley’s name up there. She’s remembered every day by all her family and all of her friends — and this is a way for everybody else to see it,” she said.
“It’s a shame,” she added, “that they’re all here because somebody was drinking and driving.”
The DUI Victims Moving Memorial will be open to the public again today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., giving visitors an opportunity to pay respects, submit the names of DUI victims for inclusion on the wall and sign a pledge to drive sober, obey speed limits and always wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle.
The visit is part of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Operation Safe Holiday, a program designed to reduce traffic crashes and fatalities during the current holiday season. In Crawford County, figures compiled by PennDOT indicate there were six alcohol-related deaths in 2007, down from 11 in 2006.
In addition to PennDOT, sponsors of the visit include Crawford County DUI Task Force, Vernon Township Police Department and Pennsylvania DUI Association.
For Frank Baranyai, coordinator of the Crawford County DUI Task Force, it’s personal.
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