EDITORIAL: Operation Safe Holiday

The York Dispatch
  • Make arrangements before heading to that holiday party.
  • Law enforcement will be extra vigilant as part of Operation Safe Holiday.

Completely preventable.

Rhonda Grove, of West Manchester Township, speaks about the drunk driving crash that killed her then 21-year-old son, Trent (pictured on right), nine years earlier. (Photo by David Weissman/ The York Dispatch)

That’s how West Manchester Township resident Rhonda Grove describes the New Year’s Eve death of her son.

Twenty-one-year–old Trent Grove was home on leave from Dover Air Force Base when he was killed by a drunk driver Dec. 31, 2007, near Seven Valleys.

It was a celebratory time of year, but Trent Grove was being responsible, according to his mother. He had a designated driver.

Unfortunately, Rhonda Grove said, that person ended up driving impaired and getting into a crash that killed Trent Grove and Shelby Winemiller, 21, of North Codorus Township.

Paul William Hively III, 27, of North Codorus Township, pleaded no contest to two counts of homicide by vehicle while DUI, one count of aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI and two counts of DUI, court records state.

York officials warn against holiday drinking and driving

Rhonda Grove told her story Dec. 2 on the steps of the York County Administrative Center to bring attention to Operation Safe Holiday.

She wasn’t alone — representatives from the state Department of Transportation, the York County Commissioner's Office, the district attorney's office and local police departments also were on hand to tout the enhanced enforcement effort.

But Rhonda’s tragedy drove the warning home.

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“The pain of losing a child is unimaginable," she said. "The pain of losing a son to a completely preventable action is unacceptable."

In the spirit of Operation Safe Holiday and Rhonda Grove’s message, here are a few pieces of basic advice we've come across over the years:

  • Be a good host, and don’t overserve guests or let them drive drunk.
  • Be a good guest and don’t overindulge or drive drunk.
  • Make advance arrangements for you or your guests to  get home safely.

And for heaven's sake, speak up if it looks as if anyone isn't following that  advice. It might help avoid a perfectly preventable tragedy.