One year later, Starkey victims continue to grieve over fatal crash

DUI checkpoint (Media General photo)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s Cinco de Mayo, and a lot of people are out celebrating.

This holiday brings people together through good food and alcohol, but if you don’t make the right choices when getting behind the wheel, it could not be a fiesta after all.

Friday May 6, 2016, two beloved Starkey residents were killed.

Dusty Atterbery and Dirk MacMillan lost their lives to a man accused of getting behind the wheel while heavily intoxicated.

“Many, many lives can change in the blink of an eye and that’s why it’s just never worth it,” explained Andrie Krahl, Executive Director, Kansas DUI Impact Center.

Both men touched a lot of lives, and those who knew them are continuing to grieve.

“We know that they are emotionally troubled and very saddened by today and every day,” stated Krahl.

She says advocates with Kansas DUI Impact Center are in constant communication with the Starkey victims. Krahl states with each new day, they’re continuing to heal.

KSN reached out to Starkey Friday, they did not want to speak on camera but sent this statement:

 “The tragic collision on May 6 last year took the lives of two members of our Starkey family, injured three more, and left a hole in the lives of countless others that can never be filled. Until you have personally experienced it, you might never stop to think how the bad decisions of one individual could so irreparably affect the lives of so many others.”

Wichitan Jennifer Kepley knows that devastating feeling all too well. She lost her best friend and roommate, Chanelle Thompson, when she was just 23 years old.

“It was hard not to fall apart. I had nieces and nephews and that’s what really kept me going,” answered Kepley.

Thompson was killed while coming home from work in May of 2005. Twelve years later, and Kepley is wanting folks to be educated on the life altering decision.

“There are other choices out there than getting behind the wheel with your keys,” said Kepley.

The man accused of killing the Starkey residents will be in court May 8.

To cut back on drunk driving on Friday, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and Maize Police Department are conducting a sobriety checkpoint.