RALEIGH — Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is shocked and outraged by the alleged actions of Patrick Conway, the president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, who has been charged with impaired driving and misdemeanor child abuse for driving erratically on Interstate 85 with his 9- and 7-year-old daughters in his car. A concerned motorist followed Conway’s car and captured video of the SUV sideswiping a tractor trailer.
MADD is calling for the maximum possible sentence for both impaired driving and child endangerment. Conway should be required to use an ignition interlock for a minimum of six months, with no failed attempts to start the vehicle due to alcohol consumption, before any driving privileges are allowed.
Conway reportedly refused a breath test, and was described by law enforcement as belligerent during the arrest and while in jail, kicking and pounding the holding cell door and cursing at officers. The arresting officers said he threatened to get them in trouble with the Governor, stating that they “had a choice” to let him go and that “you don’t know who I am.”
“MADD is profoundly shocked by the actions of Dr. Conway. Driving drunk is a violent, 100% preventable crime that kills 11,000 people a year. Driving drunk with a child passenger is a form of child abuse that can not only lead to severe injury or death of child, but inflicts emotional scars that can last a lifetime,” said MADD National President Helen Witty. “We expect Blue Cross and Blue Shield to hold Dr. Conway – who allegedly used his position, connection and privilege to try to talk his way out of the crimes he is accused of – to the high standard befitting of someone entrusted to lead a $10 billion organization that, tragically, is all too acquainted with the violent aftermath of drunk driving crashes.”
Currently, driving drunk with a child passenger in North Carolina is a misdemeanor crime. MADD advocates for every state to pass laws that make this form of child abuse a felony crime. Seven states impose felony charges for drunk driving child endangerment.
“The erratic driving shown in videos and the belligerent behavior described by law enforcement is inexcusable. Drunk driving is the leading killer on America’s roads. It is one of the leading causes of child deaths,” Witty said. “It is beyond comprehension that anyone, especially a medical doctor who is trained to save lives, would choose to drive impaired. He didn’t just put his own safety at risk. It is miraculous that he did not kill himself, his children or any of the scores of innocent people he encountered on the road that afternoon.”
MADD also condemns Conway’s alleged treatment of law enforcement officers who were working to keep North Carolina safe. MADD is requesting the dashboard camera, jail videos and any other documentation that reportedly show his alleged unprofessional, shameful behavior.
“Law enforcement is our first line of defense to this violent crime. They risk their lives every day to keep us safe, and our support for them is a cornerstone of our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving,” Witty said. “To be threatened and bullied and mistreated in this way, especially by someone in a position like his, is unconscionable.”
For more information on DUI child endangerment laws, please visit: https://www.madd.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/DUI_Child_Endangerment_Overview.pdf
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save nearly 380,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.
Contact: Becky Iannotta, 202.600.2032, [email protected]