Local business and group honored for help with DUI awareness project

The Madison County DUI Taskforce and Ennis business Signs West were recently honored with an award recognizing their efforts on a project geared at bringing more education and awareness to the tragedies caused by drunk driving.

The Swimming Upstream Awards are handed out every year by the Gallatin County DUI Task Force. The award honors businesses, groups or people who have made special efforts to fight drunk driving in Gallatin County.

The Madison County DUI Taskforce and Signs West were honored for their efforts in helping with a project in Gallatin County called “Megan’s Car.”

Megan’s Car is a project that ultimately started with the death of 20-year-old Megan Peterson. She died in the Bear Trap Canyon last year after her car crossed the centerline on Montana Highway 84 and collided head-on with another vehicle. Peterson was intoxicated at the time of the accident and killed instantly.

As a way to help educate people about the perils of drunk driving, Peterson’s parents donated her wrecked car to Gallatin County. The crumpled vehicle is now on a trailer and towed to events and venues to help drive home the dangers of drunk driving.

The Madison County DUI Task Force donated funds toward the display and Signs West contributed the signage.

“We were honored to get to do the project because it’s an important story to share with people,” said Signs West owner Mariah Oliver.

Lynn Lowder with the Madison County DUI Task Force is also honored by the award and believes that “Megan’s Car” will be a powerful tool to combat drinking and driving. She hopes to have the car on display in the Bear Trap Canyon sometime this summer.

“That’s always been a problem area in the summer and every year we do high visibility enforcement there for that reason,” Lowder said.

The Megan’s Car project was also funded by several Gallatin County businesses and by a grant written by the Montana Highway Patrol and the Gallatin County DUI Taskforce, wrote Madison County Undersheriff Roger Thompson.

“Gallatin County DUI Taskforce and MHP wrote the grant to start the project after the parents of Megan donated the car as a reminder so that they may help prevent the deep pain and sorrow of losing a daughter or loved one to drinking and driving,” Thompson wrote.

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