Holiday ‘Booze It & Lose It’ Campaign Kicks It Up a Notch for 20th Anniversary

The year 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of North Carolina’s Booze It & Lose It campaign to keep impaired drivers off the road.

To drive the message home, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program has released a series of televised PSAs and online videos.

“In 2002, Zack was seven years old,” says Angie Bass. “It would have been his third day of second grade. And on the way to school, we were hit by an impaired driver.”

She had just married her second husband a week before the tragic accident that took the life of her son, Zachary Davis. She’d been looking forward to her honeymoon, and to the fresh start with Zack and his new stepdad.

Her story is one of 20 in the “20/20 Hindsight” video series. The videos offer firsthand testimony about the often tragic consequences of drunk driving.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Program also released a PSA that’s airing across the state through Jan. 4.

The message is: “If you drink and drive this holiday season, day or night, you will be caught.”

It shouldn’t take much more than learning the story of Angela Bass and her son Zack to understand why “Booze It & Lose It” is a worthwhile program.

On August 9, 2002, a truck driven by John Spencer Brown drifted into the wrong lane at 85 MPH on Highway 127 in Hickory. The posted speed limit was 45 MPH.

Brown’s truck hit Bass’s car, causing it to spin out of control. Brown’s truck then hit another vehicle, injuring the driver.

Bass’s son Zack died the next day from his injuries. Brown initially refused a blood alcohol test, but a warrant was served, blood was drawn, and his blood alcohol level was determined to be 0.17.

His blood sample also contained Xanax, as well as a byproduct of cocaine.

Brown was convicted of second degree murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and driving while impaired.

Now 37, he’s serving a sentence of 22-to-29 years at Mountain View Correctional Institution in Spruce Pine, N.C.

But he got off easy, compared to young Zack Brown and his family. Here’s Angie Bass:

You can view the 20/20 Hindsight series here.

NC Launches Campaign Against Drunken Driving

Photo courtesy of

RALEIGH – Authorities say law enforcement officers are out in full force across North Carolina to catch drunken drivers.

The Department of Transportation says the Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” campaign kicks off this weekend and runs through Sept. 2.

The director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program says young adults often celebrate with alcohol as they say goodbye to summer and head back to school. Don Nail says the campaign is designed to remind them they should designate a sober driver, call a cab or take public transit.

New public service announcements are running on television and social media.

The transportation agency says there were nearly 11,000 alcohol-related crashes in North Carolina last year. More than half of them involved drivers between 18 and 34 years old.