Police hold DUI checkpoint in honor of 9-year-old

May 28, 2011 12:42:58 AM PDT
Novato police honor a girl killed by a drunk driver two years ago by setting up a DUI checkpoint. There are DUI checkpoints going up all over the Bay Area this holiday weekend, but one in Novato has special significance to everyone who knew a little girl killed by a repeat offender.

At San Marin Drive and San Carlos Way in Novato, a man on his motorcycle riding at a very high speed, who also had multiple DUIs, hit and killed 9-year-old Melody Osheroff and maimed her father. Marin County officers hope to prevent these types of tragedies.

Marin County police caught a man at the checkpoint with an open container in his car and he had no license and no insurance.

Melody's father, Aaron Osheroff, said he has the memory fixed in his mind and heart.

"We were just walking across the street in a crosswalk, holding hands, and we were mowed down by a drunk driver," said Aaron.

Aaron says his daughter was murdered by Edward Shafer, who at the time had been convicted of multiple DUIs. Aaron lost a leg in the accident and says every step is a reminder of his loss.

"I can forget about it sometimes, but walking is not easy. It doesn't come naturally, so yeah, my physical injuries are with me and they are a daily reminder," said Aaron.

Marin County officers asked for Aaron's permission to use Melody's name and picture for the checkpoint.

"This checkpoint were having in Novato is in honor of Melody and her life and to bring awareness and education and also to deter any drunk driving in Novato and Marin County," said Novato Sgt. Oliver Collins.

Dozens of cars are lined up in San Marin Drive for the checkpoint. Licenses are checked and drivers are asked if they have been drinking. Those like one family who had an unlicensed driver at the wheel were taken out of their car and the vehicle was towed away.

Aaron says he hopes DUI checkpoints like this one can help save the life of someone else's child. He and his wife are trying to get on with their lives.

"My wife and I had a baby six months ago, a boy. He has brought a lot of love. He makes us a family of four again. It doesn't bring Melody back, but we've try to rebuild our family, rebuild our lives," said Aaron.

Marin County officers were hoping to check anywhere between 1,200-2,000 cars at their checkpoint. Friday kicked off sobriety checkpoints throughout the state in preparation for the long Memorial Day weekend.

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