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Video shows impact of drunk drivers on residents of Kitsap County

Kitsap News Group photographer Jesse Beals recently completed a seven-month video project on the effects of DUI drivers in Kitsap County.

For Beals, the idea to do the video started in December 2007 when he was traveling to a weekend video workshop at the Yakima Herald. He witnessed a DUI driver weave in and out of traffic and over the centerline for about 15 minutes. He called 911 and followed the driver until his exit came up.

"While watching this driver all over the road, I thought, 'There has to be a better way to stop drinking and driving,'" Beals said. "This is how I got the idea of putting together a video that would educate the community that drinking and driving is not an option."

Beals' first step was calling MADD Kitsap Chapter President Marsha Masters and WSP Spokeswoman Trooper Krista Hedstrom for help in putting the project together. Next he had the difficult task of searching out families who have been personally affected by drunk drivers.

"It's one thing to do an interview on a typical subject, but to have a family tell me about their worst nightmare was a whole new experience," Beals said.

Another difficulty in putting the project together was the legal side and the gray area that surrounds videotaping a DUI driver under arrest.

"I contacted the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) President Tony Overman and explained the issue at hand. Overman forwarded my questions to NPPA legal counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher who advised me that if I was to tackle a subject like this I should play it safe and video/photograph only subjects from behind."

What started out as a five-minute video turned into a three-chapter video that's 14 minutes long.

"Each family helped out in a special way and only wanted one thing in return: to get the message out that drinking and driving needs to stop," Beals said. "I put this video together, but it took a community working together to produce the finished product. I can't thank everybody enough who helped out, it couldn't have been done without you."

Jesse Beals has been a photographer with Kitsap News Group since 2003.

The following video is three chapters:

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