Drunken driving is dangerous, but hundreds of people in La Plata County do it each year, according to state court records. Cyndi Lindquester wants to change that, and she needs volunteers to help.
Lindquester is a volunteer with a victim-impact panel, a La Plata County program started in the late 1990s by former County Court Judge Martha T. Minot, who wanted defendants convicted of a DUI to hear stories from people who have been victimized by drunken driving.
La Plata County Court Judge Dondi Osborne continued the program after Minot retired in 2017. Lindquester – whose daughter died in a crash with a drunk driver – said she and her co-volunteers need more people in La Plata County who can tell their stories.
La Plata County Sheriff’s Office opens the courtroom every two months to 50 to 100 people, many of whom are court-ordered to appear, according to the agency. The doors will open at 6 p.m. Wednesday to anyone who wants to attend. The panel is scheduled to speak from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The fee for all attendees is $25.
“The problem is always there, and it doesn’t seem like it’s getting better. The courtroom is full every time,” Lindquester said. “I lost my daughter outside Ignacio in 1995. The problem hasn’t gone away, and neither has the pain. I hope to live with it and educate people.”