Marilyn Peffley’s daughter, Delaine, was killed 29 years ago in northern Indiana when a drunken driver lost control of his car and crossed several lanes of traffic before hitting her car.

“She was buried on Halloween,” Peffley said of her daughter, then 26. “We don’t know if she was killed instantly or not.”

Today, Delaine Peffley’s name adorns a spot inside the Mothers Against Drunk Driving gazebo at Deming Park where her mother and other Wabash Valley MADD volunteers gathered Monday night during a steady rain.

The volunteers were kicking off this year’s MADD red ribbon campaign against drunk driving.

“We would like to saturate the community with red ribbons,” Peffley said.

Supporters of the campaign are asked to tie the ribbons onto their car radio antennas or other places where they can be easily seen by other motorists.

Representatives of the Indiana State University Police Department, the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department and the Indiana State Police attended the opening ceremony Monday night.

State Police have worked six fatal accidents involving drunken drivers in Vigo and surrounding counties in 2007, said trooper Mark Overpeck. State Police have made 241 drunken driving arrests this year, he said.

In Vigo County, more than 800 people have been brought to jail this year on drunken driving charges, said Deputy Chief Greg Ewing of the Sheriff’s Department. An additional 404 people have been brought in on public intoxication charges, he said.

Within the city, Indiana State University police have made 102 drunken driving arrests this year compared with 25 last year, said ISU Police Chief Bill Mercier. Many of those arrests involved non-students who happened to be on or very near ISU’s campus, Mercer said. The increase in arrests is because of stronger enforcement, Mercier said. “We take the issue seriously,” he said.

“You’re doing something good,” Peffley told the police officers who attended Monday night’s ceremony. Around 30 years ago, attitudes toward drunken driving were much more lax, she said. “I think MADD has changed that.”

MADD red ribbons will be available in local grocery stores, including Kroger and Baesler’s, local car dealerships, the Vigo County Public Library, churches and other locations, volunteers said.

“Red ribbons remind people to drive safe and sober,” Peffley said.

The MADD gazebo at Deming Park has the names of more than 40 people on wooden plaques along the ceiling. All were killed by drunken drivers. “Each of these [plaques] have sad stories behind them,” Peffley said.

Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

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