INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (September 6, 2015) - This holiday weekend, a sobering reminder not to get behind the wheel if you've been drinking. One IMPD officer has spent years keeping you safe from drunk drivers, only to lose his daughter in a drunken driving crash.
“I’m close to 4,000 DUI arrests,” says IMPD officer Dan Shragal.
Officer Shragal has spent the last 20 years working DUI checkpoints and arresting impaired drivers. None of those cases changed his life like the DUI crash that claimed his 22 year-old daughter’s life two weeks ago in Ohio. Shragal was working at a DUI checkpoint when he got the phone call about his daughter’s death.
“We had just taken a break and were coming back to finish up and my phone rang. I saw that it was Kirstin’s mom and through the sobbing and the screaming she got out that Kirstin was dead,” says Shragal.
Kirstin Burton was a new mother. Her 14-month-old son Orion was also in the car with her during the crash and was critically injured. Police found him in the back seat of the car.
“When we got to the hospital, they still could not tell us if he was going to live because the amount of blood that he lost,” says Shragal.
Just hours before Kirstin was killed she posted an inspirational video on social media, talking about the importance of kindness and love.
Shragal is thankful he was able to talk with his daughter shortly before the crash; expressing his love for the girl he says brought love and light into other people’s lives.
“I’m blessed that the last words I said to my daughter were ‘I love you, sunshine’ and she said ‘I love you too, daddy.’ That is the last time I spoke to her,” says Shragal.
Officer Shragal says this terrible tragedy will not defeat him. He wants to get back out on the roads with his fellow officers to prevent impaired drivers from taking an innocent life.
“I don’t want to have another father bury his daughter or his son or children to lose a mom or a dad. It is destructive," says Shragal.