Western Mass family of victim killed by drunk driver reacts to new blood alcohol regulations - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Western Mass family of victim killed by drunk driver reacts to new blood alcohol regulations

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The National Transportation Safety Board wants states to lower blood alcohol levels to cut down on drunk driving.

The Kareta Family of Westfield lost their son Joe more than two years ago when a drunk driver hit him as he was standing by a mailbox in South Hadley.

They think lowering the blood alcohol level could help, but they also want to see more done.

Frederick Kareta stood in his Westfield home Tuesday night looking at photos of his 22-year-old son Joe.

"We expected big things from Joe. He was a very well liked guy. He was the type that had no problem helping anybody. That's what Joe was known for," said Kareta.

It was back in august of 2010 when Joe was walking on Brainerd Street in South Hadley when a car came swerving off the road, striking Joe and killing him.

"Everybody was in absolute shock and there's my poor son, just gone," said Kareta.

Behind the wheel of the vehicle that killed the Westfield State grad was 43-year-old Craig Barton.

He's now serving 5 to 7 years in jail.

Police say he was speeding and drunk.

Tragic incidents like Joe's death that has the National Transportation Safety Board calling for changes.

They want to lower the legal blood alcohol level from .08 to .05.

The Karetas say that could help but more needs to be done.

"Make the sentences longer, make them more harsh, and make the punishment fit the crime. You kill somebody you go to jail for a long time," explained Kareta.

The Karetas want to see stronger punishments for offenders. They are hoping to get drunk drivers off the road, so families don't have to go through what they have.

"The hell we've been through in the past two and a half years. We lost our 22-year-old son. You don't replace that," said Kareta

The NTSB can't force this new regulation.

It will be up to the states to individually accept the recommendation to lower the blood alcohol level.


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