Officers Remember DUI Victim With Checkpoint

Caitlin Leasure died on March 26, 2006.
Caitlin Leasure died on March 26, 2006.

A year after a deadly drunk-driving accident, dozens of officers were out in force Friday night to make sure it didn't happen again.

You may have seen the massive checkpoint set up along Highway 17, but there was a little more emotion behind this one than you might expect.

With the flashing of hundreds of blue lights and the click of handcuffs, officers were busy getting a simple message across.

"If you're going to drink and drive, you're going to pay the price," said Powell Harrelson with the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

The DUI checkpoint at Dean Forest Road and Highway 17 was a little more complicated than that though.

It comes almost a year to the day that 20-year old Caitlin Leasure was killed by a drunk driver on Interstate 95 in Port Wentworth, and her family drove from Ohio to see firsthand what the checkpoint was all about.

"We are absolutely overwhelmed that they're doing this on behalf of Caitlin," said her father, Joe Leasure.

In fact, more than ten different agencies pitched in.

It's not just about making as many arrests as possible, though.  It was also about remembering Caitlin; every single one of the officers was wearing a ribbon over their heart in her memory.

"I think that underscores how important they feel it is," said Leasure.

Within the first hour, officers had already nabbed almost half a dozen drunk drivers, along with other people caught with drugs, expired tags and other violations.

Leasure says it's a little disappointing, but important: "We've already had the loss. Caitlin will never be coming back. But if we can do something to save someone else from going through this agony, that's certainly what we want to do."

And that's exactly what they say they accomplished.

Officers do these high-density checkpoints every month, but this is the first time they have dedicated one in someone's memory.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite,