The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 3, 2013

DUI victims remembered

SOMERSET — Michele Ezykowsky awoke in June 2006 to a phone call and words she’ll never forget.

A DUI crash had claimed her husband’s life.

“I thought it was a lie,” she said. “I couldn’t believe someone would call and say something so horrible.”

But it was true, the Latrobe woman soon learned.

And in the years since, Ezykowsky has tried to honor her husband Ryan’s memory by telling his story – one of hundreds that live within the names of those inscribed on a mobile memorial to DUI victims that was parked outside the Somerset Hospital on Tuesday.

“People don’t think this can happen to them. They think they are invincible,” Ezykowsky said, standing outside the Pennsylvania DUI Association’s “Moving Memorial.”

“My family is proof that it can happen, that it does happen.”

Ezykowsky and her daughters, Meah and Ryssa, were among dozens who visited the wall Tuesday.

Somerset County was a fitting place for the memorial, Twin Lakes Center coordinator Ronna Yablonski said.

“This memorial is here today because

we have to bring awareness to the

consequences of DUIs,” she said.

Among arrests involving those impaired by alcohol statewide, Somerset County, at an average blood alcohol level of .20 percent, ranked first in the state, she said.

“DUI deaths like these are 100 percent preventable,” she said, standing just a few feet from a tree filled with notes to lost loved ones.

“I miss you sis,” Tyler Faulkner wrote to a sister, Elizabeth Faulkner, he never met.

A DUI crash in Ohio took her life seven years ago.

Those who lost a loved one to DUI accidents wrote messages on paper angels for an evergreen tree that will be planted at Somerset County Technology Center as a permanent memorial, Yablonski said.

“It can serve as a permanent reminder of the consequences of driving under the influence – that it doesn’t just affect the lives claimed, but their families, too,” she added.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ tddavidhurst.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • bank1 West End bank robbed

    The West End branch of AmeriServ Financial was robbed Tuesday morning, two days before the branch is scheduled to close.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • weather_2 Old Man Winter returns to area

    Just when you think we’ve finally escaped the cold temperatures, winter swoops back in to remind us it’s not going away just yet.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 15, 2014

  • City seeks support for sewer revamp

    The city is looking for backup from the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority in spreading what they call “true” facts and figures regarding the city’s encompassing sewer revamp.

    April 15, 2014

  • Airport gets lift with $180G grant

    The John Murtha Johnstown–Cambria County Airport needs to replace some basic maintenance equipment: a pickup truck, painting machine, chain saw, weed eater, hand tools and more.
    So, on Tuesday, the airport’s authority agreed to accept Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Bureau of Aviation grant money that already has been tentatively allocated.

    April 15, 2014

  • Cresson asks court to force ex-chief to sign pact

    An agreement reached more than a month ago between Cresson Borough Council and its former police chief still has not been signed, and the borough is asking a judge to intervene.

    April 15, 2014

  • hamer 16 Mom told to seek help for addiction

    A Johnstown woman charged with tossing her 4-month-old baby and with drug-related offenses pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Cambria County court on Tuesday.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • District hopes refinancing will save additional $40G

    Refinancing about $4 million in debt will result in savings more than twice as large as initially expected, Windber Area school board members learned Tuesday night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Elder justice events set

    In an effort to combat elder abuse in area communities, an elder justice seminar will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 24 at the Johnstown Senior Center, 550 Main St., downtown Johnstown. In addition, a free elder abuse clergy training seminar will be held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. April 25 at Moxham Lutheran Church, 500 Park Ave., Johnstown.

    April 15, 2014

  • Local briefs 4/16/2014

    April 15, 2014

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads