Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Thursday vigil remembers victims of DUI

CLEARLAKE – This Thursday, a special event to remember those lost to drunk driving collisions and their families will be held in Clearlake.


Team DUI will host the candlelight vigil at 6:30 p.m. at the gazebo in Clearlake's Austin Park, 14077 Lakeshore Drive. The community is invited to attend.


The award-winning group formed a few years ago. It includes local officials and citizens who work together to fight underage drinking and drinking and driving. They've presented programs to more than 1,500 local students.


Speakers at the hour-long vigil will include Lake County Sheriff's Capt. Russell Perdock, Chris Tyner, Konocti Unified School District Superintendent Bill MacDougall and Wendy Jensen.


Plans also include a moment of silence and offering luminaria – small paper lanterns – to remember those who have died in DUI crashes, said Larry Fanning, a Team DUI member and pastor of Clearlake's First Baptist Church. Fanning will serve as the vigil's master of ceremonies.


The genesis of the event, said Fanning, came in January at the Judge's Breakfast, hosted by Judge Richard Freeborn at the Main Street Cafe in Clearlake.


Fanning said local law enforcement officials were discussing the 20th anniversary of a crash that claimed the life of three Lower Lake High School students and top athletes – Joseph Dizon, 18; Joshua Burke,18; and Frank Doyle, 19.


The collision occurred on Jan. 14, 1989.


A chaplain with Clearlake Police for 15 years, Fanning said he's used to seeing law enforcement hide their emotions. But as the men spoke about this case, he could see the emotion. Fanning said the story also brought MacDougall, who was in attendance, to tears.


“Twenty years later and there's all this emotion,” said Fanning. “This needs to be used for something positive.”


Fanning started looking into the case, and found that everyone familiar with the incident had a story. “It was a very powerful event for the high school students of the day.”


The car the three young men were riding in hit a tree a few hundred feet away from a party. The driver of the car survived and went to prison, Fanning said. “It's a very tragic story,” he said. “It was just horrific.”


Team DUI decided to hold an event later in the year, during April, which is a month that focuses on DUI prevention, Fanning explained.


He said some of the speakers at the Thursday vigil will discuss the 1989 crash.


Fanning spends at least one night a week riding with Clearlake Police officers.


He said he's been at crash scenes and watched drunk drivers trying to get out of their cars and walk away. He's also accompanied police to parties where young people were drinking. It's an unusual situation for Fanning, who doesn't drink.


Fanning said part of the emphasis of the Thursday vigil is to commit the community to facing the issue of drunk driving.


“It's not going to go away,” he said.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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