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Published January 16, 2013, 09:22 PM

Families of DUI death victims say ‘time is now’ for more harsh punishments

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - North Dakota lawmakers are calling it horrific. Right near the door to the State Capitol, was the destroyed vehicle of a West Fargo family, killed by a drunk driver last July.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - North Dakota lawmakers are calling it horrific. Right near the door to the State Capitol, was the destroyed vehicle of a West Fargo family, killed by a drunk driver last July.

A visual reminder adding even more urgency to the testimony of two families today, demanding the state make its DUI laws tougher.

The father of Allison Deutscher says he's sending an emotional message to North Dakota lawmakers, one he can't even bear to look at.

Lynn Mickelson, Daughter Killed in DUI Crash: "So senseless, Brielle's car seat in the back, it hurts. It hurts to look at."

It's hard to see the pain, the heartbreak, of this father in mourning. July 6th, the day he lost his daughter Allison Deutscher, a pregnant West Fargo woman killed on I-94 near Jamestown.

A drunken driver caused the crash that took the lives of her, her husband, and her 18-month old daughter.

Mickelson says it's time for lawmakers to act and crack down on DUI offenders.

Mickelson: "It's time to do something. We got to do something. That's why I keep hoping and praying these legislators can do something about it."

Inside the capitol, an emotional meeting between three parents consumed by grief. Just one day after the Deutscher's died, Juan and Sandy Ruiz lost their boys, one 5-year-old, one 9.

Sandy Ruiz, Son Killed in DUI Crash: "I can feel what he is feeling, I can understand what he is feeling."

Last summer, the Ruiz's were camping on Lake Metigoshe. As the family slept, a drunken driver lost control on a gravel road and ran over the tent, killing the two boys.

Juan Ruiz, Son Killed in DUI Crash: "I was asleep, woke up, and I was pulling the boys out from under a truck."

Together, the families showed the devastating reality of drunk driving, hoping to make a difference.

Andy Peterson, ND Chamber President: "It's horrible, horrific. It puts a lump in your throat obviously. This is really one of the things that will get legislators attention."

Rep. Scott Kelsh, (D) Fargo: "It's a very stirring reminder that there are problems we need to address."

Two DUI crackdown bills are in the works. One state rep is asking for higher fines for DUIs and West Fargo's Kim Koppelman is asking for an increase in jail time, and fines. Neither bill is scheduled for hearing.

Ruiz: "I would like to see something come good out of this. What are we going to wait for? Another family to be taken out by a drunk driver? The time is now."

To bring something positive out of the immense tragedy, there's a memorial run for the Deutschers on April 6th called the Run 4 Change.

It's at the Scheels Arena. Money raised goes to the Safe Communities Coalition, to take a stand against drunken driving.

There's an easy link with more information at our website, WDAY.com.

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