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DWI Victims Honored At Hackensack Vigil

Scott Reddin of Englewood, board member of End DWI, and Minister Harvey Murphy of Bogota share stories of being victims of drunk drivers. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
The Bergen County Sheriff's Department color guard at the annual End DWI remembrance and candlelight vigil. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
Rose Shawah, member of End DWI executive board, spoke meaningfully of the victims of DWI and the work of her organization. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
The colorguard at End DWI's annual candlelight vigil after dark. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
Family members of DWI victims and officers of Bergen County services held a candlelight vigil and memorial tonight in Hackensack. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
Bergen County Sheriff's Officer Richard Hamilton, center, leader of the color guard. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- The names of more than 350 victims of drunk drivers were read, projected onto a screen and murmured in hushed conversations Monday night in Hackensack as officials pledged to do their best to end such tragedies.

“We have zero tolerance when it comes to DWI arrests," Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino told family members, friends, officials and uniformed service members gathered in the county administration building.

The worst experience in his 43 years in law enforcement, Saudino said, was the day he had to tell a family their 18-year old daughter had been killed.

Particularly poignant were the groupings of victims with the same surnames, indicating multiple deaths.

County Executive Jim Tedesco said drunk driving deaths “are entirely preventable," citing an initiative by high school students to provide rides home.

Candles were given to loved one of the victims. Everyone then gathered in front of the building — candles glowing in the dark — to watch an honor guard led by a lone bagpiper pass by.

Rose Shawah, a member of the End DWI Executive Board, urged people to sign up and enlist in her organization’s work.

Scott Reddin, of Englewood, and retired Mahwah police officer Harvey Murphy, of Bogota — who led the invocation — learned that each had been non-fatal victims of drunk-driving accidents.

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