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Signs bearing names of 100 DUI victims line road to Mount Charleston

Updated December 1, 2023 - 7:21 pm

A hundred names now line the main road to Mount Charleston.

The names, featured on signs posted along Kyle Canyon Road, are all of people who have been killed in DUI crashes in Southern Nevada over the past few decades.

Installed Wednesday as part of advocacy group Stop DUI’s initiative called Miles of Memories, the signs will be posted until January and are intended to bring awareness to drivers visiting Mount Charleston during the holiday season, anti-DUI advocates say.

“We hope when they see these signs, it will resonate and make them understand, you know what, you don’t need to be driving under the influence,” said Sandy Heverly, Stop DUI’s executive director. “There’s just too many other alternatives. And we don’t want any more signs.”

This year, from Jan. 1 through Nov. 24, according to Metropolitan Police Department statistics, there have been 52 fatalities in which DUI was suspected in Metro’s jurisdiction. That’s compared with 61 over the same time in 2022, or a drop of almost 15 percent.

“The last time I checked, we were down a little bit, but a little bit isn’t enough,” Heverly said. “Like I said, one is too much, and it doesn’t have to happen.”

In all of 2022, there were 65 fatalities where DUI was suspected. That’s a drop of 14.5 percent from the 76 in 2021, according to Metro statistics.

Kyle Canyon Road, also known as State Route 157, was dedicated in 2019 to Southern Nevada DUI victims. A sign placed along the road reads “DUI Victim Memorial Highway.” According to Stop DUI, it’s the only state route in the county that is dedicated to DUI victims. December is also National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

The sign-posting initiative started about 26 years ago, Heverly said, albeit with only about seven or eight signs, she said.

“We started out relatively small,” Heverly said. “And again, none of these signs are put up without the approval of the victim’s family.”

The names on the signs include Christa Puente, 33, and her husband, Damoso Puente Jr., 39, who were killed in May 2018.

Christa’s mother, Diane Malone, was helping install the signs, which were fastened atop mile marker posts along the road, reopened to the public in early November after being heavily damaged by the remnants of Tropical Storm Hilary in August.

Malone said it’s important for her to help get the signs up to keep the memory of her daughter and son-in-law alive.

“This highway being lined with all these signs, these are all people who died at the hands of a drunk driver,” Malone said. “And you never know who’s going to be next. You never know whose loved one is going to die next.”

Malone was helping put up the signs with Joan Eddowes, 73, who also lost a child. Her son, Mark Simon, was 17 when he was killed while riding a bicycle on Tropicana Avenue near Stephanie Street on May 24, 1991.

“Doing this over these years is still giving me an opportunity to be Mark’s mom,” Eddowes said.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com.

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