Sarasota, Lakeland top list of deadliest cities for DUI crashes

A new study says Sarasota and Lakeland, Florida are the state's deadliest cities when it comes to DUI crashes.

Sharon Hall wants you to know: If it can happen to her, it can happen to you.

"The first thing [the troopers] said was, 'Do you have a son named Louis Mitchell Hall?' I said, 'yes,'" Hall remembered of the day officers told her of her son's death.

The 26-year-old was one of two dead in a rollover crash involving a drunk driver in 2008. 

Louis was a passenger in a car later found to be going almost 90 on the highway.

In 2017, a LendingTree report shows 515 people died in crashes involving impaired drivers in Florida.  The deadliest city was Sarasota, with 12 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Lakeland was second with about 6.5 per 100,000. 

St. Petersburg was fourth with 4.6 per 100,000 and Tampa was seventh with 3.77.

"There are no boundaries," said Hall. "There is no social class. There is no race, no anything that leaves you immune."

Hall said, even with all the awareness and new rideshare options to get home safe, Sarasota still saw 73% more DUI deaths than three years ago. 

Lakeland's rate nearly tripled. 

Plant City, Temple Terrace, and Pinellas Park made the list for medium-sized cities. 

Sebring, Gulfport, and Palmetto were on it for small cities. 

Lists of one are all that matter to a mother.

"When there are family times, he should be here," Hall said. "He should be here to be the uncle to the little ones. It is just not normal anymore."

MADD says the devastating numbers aren't for lack of enforcement. They say both Sarasota and Lakeland have DUI units that work tirelessly to prevent these crashes.

Hall says it comes down to personal responsibility.