Halloween is a great time for tricks and treats. It’s fun to dress up as a gladiator from ancient Rome, a fairy-tale princess, or one of the countless superheroes whose costumes crowd the retail shelves this time of year.
But there’s a particular role this Halloween that anyone with a driver’s license would be wise to consider, and it doesn’t require a fake moustache or goofy glasses. It’s the role of designated driver.
The fatal hit-and-run accident early Tuesday morning in Camarillo that claimed the life of Ventura County Sheriff’s Dep. Eugene Kostiuchenko is a tragic reminder of the dangers of drunk driving.
Police said 25-year-old Kevin Hogrefe had a high blood-alcohol level when he was driving on the 101 Freeway and struck and killed Kostiuchenko, who was getting into his patrol car following a traffic stop in the predawn hours of Oct. 28.
Officer Steve Reid with the Ventura office of the California Highway Patrol said officers will be on the road in full force during the holiday weekend, specifically on the lookout for DUI drivers.
Deputies from the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station will be patrolling the Los Angeles County side.
“Certainly if you want to go out and have a good time and that includes alcohol, that’s fine,” Reid said.
“Just make sure you have a designated driver. Make sure that designated driver doesn’t consume any alcohol and is responsible for getting others home safely.”
Sgt. Eric Buschow, a spokesperson for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, said driving on Halloween, even while sober, can be dangerous because of the trick-or-treating factor. Youngsters excited by the holiday— not to mention the sugar rush—can dart across a street without looking or simply not be paying attention to cars backing out of driveways.
The problem can be exacerbated by masks that make it hard for little ones to see and dark costumes that make it hard for them to be seen.
A good rule of thumb is to trick-or-treat in large groups with plenty of flashlights or other lighting easily visible to motorists. The earlier you can start your neighborhood jaunt, the better.
Buschow echoed Reid’s thoughts that having a good time is OK, but getting into a car—even if you’ve had one drink—is a bad idea.
“The consequences are just huge,” he said. “It’s not worth it. Call a friend. If you’re at a house party, stay the night. Sleep it off. Have a good time, but be safe about it.”
So remember: The best superhero costume you can wear this Halloween is that of designated driver. It costs nothing and it could save everything.