SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Karlene Lindberg was on her honeymoon when she learned her daughter was injured in a car crash.

Lily’s dad crashed his car on the way to taking Lily to school. Arresting records show his blood alcohol content was over three times the legal limit. Lily was life-flighted with injuries to her lungs, bleeding in her brain and burns on her body.  

“My daughter survived luckily, but not without a hailstorm of a fight for her life back,” said Lindberg.

According to Utah Highway Patrol, there have been at least 236 alcohol-related crashes this year on Utah’s highways alone. Some of these crashes were fatal.

“In 2020 we saw a spike in DUI fatalities of 146%. A very shocking rise and it mirrored a rise we’ve seen in violent crime rates and homicide rates,” said Daniel Strong, Director of Utah Sentencing Commission.

Deborah Hudson-Penn understands the pain all too well. Her nephew, Christopher, was killed by a drunk driver in 2000.

“My heart is already broken but it breaks again every time I hear about these because now another family is going through what we go through,” said Hudson-Penn.

Lindberg and Hudson-Penn believe there need to be harsher penalties for impaired driving.

“They go in, they get their hand slapped, they get a fine, get their license taken away and they’re back out doing it again,” said Hudson Penn.