Man who lost brother in fatal crash warns against DUI; police upping patrols for Labor Day

Posted at 10:17 PM, Sep 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-04 10:32:17-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- "Don't drive drunk."

The message hits close to home for Ernest Harker.

“It was just a bombshell, and we were devastated,” Harker said of the news his brother had been killed in a crash.

His brother was hit by a drunk driver while cycling to work in May of last year. Mathew Harker, a 39-year-old husband and father of three, died at the hospital just hours later.

“I got to see his 8-year-old son approach the bed, where his mom and grandpa said, 'he's not going to wake up,'” Harker said.

He said it's a loss the family will feel the rest of their lives.

“His dad’s not going to be there for him when he graduates high school, when he serves a mission, when he gets married,” Harker said.

To prevent these types of tragedies that troopers see all too often, UHP and local police agencies will be out in full force this Labor Day weekend.

“We're wanting to make sure all the motorists are traveling safely, being responsible, and not getting behind the wheel if they've been consuming alcohol,” said Trooper Rob Nelson with Utah Highway Patrol.

This year there have been three more DUI-related fatalities on the road than during this same time frame in 2014. As the period between Memorial Day and Labor day, referred to by UHP as the "100 Deadliest Days", come to an end, troopers are pushing to make sure you stay safe by increasing patrols and having DUI checkpoints all across the state.

“Every decision we make when we get behind the wheel can affect everyone on the roadway,” Nelson said.