Iowa county OWI Intensive Supervision Program began nearly four years ago, with the goal of tackling the growing issue of drunken drivers in the area. And while that's still a work in progress, new numbers show the program is making a difference on the road.
For Melissa Bowell nearly a year ago, living to see another day wasn't something she was too sure about. Her 16 year long journey of alcohol abuse was beginning to take its toll.
“Every time I drank I was suicidal ,” said Bowell.
It took getting arrested for the third OWI for Bowell to realize she had reached rock bottom. During Bowell's arrest, she was offered the option to attend OWI Intensive Supervision Program.
Judge William Dyke brought the program to the county after he noticed in his courtroom a high number of OWI repeat offenders and no solution.
The optional program allows offenders for four months to participate in weekly case management sessions, substance abuse treatment, victim impact presentations and random alcohol testing.
“ The goal is not to stay away from drinking and driving for four years, but to stay free from drinking and driving for life,” said program coordinator Nathan Melanson.
Since 2009, more than one hundred offenders participated in this program, and last year, only 5 out of the 27 offenders who participated in the program dropped out.
While the program is still in its early stages, this year the county has seen fewer OWI repeat offenders .