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Dustin Holter

On a spring Saturday afternoon in 2006, Dustin Holter’s home was decked out for a graduation party.

But earlier that morning, Dustin was killed in a drunk-driving crash. He lost control of his car near Hartford and rolled into the ditch. He was not wearing his seat belt. His blood alcohol level was .134.

The crash sent reverberations of grief beyond Dustin’s family and touched the community. Graduation for Dustin’s classmates at West Central High School went on as planned, with an empty chair standing sentinel to the young man’s memory.

Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead was on the scene of the crash. “You take it very personally,” Milstead said. “It’s really difficult to walk up to a house where a tent is in the backyard for the celebration of graduation. Instead they’re going to be planning a funeral.”

43.2% of 12th graders had 5 or more drinks in a row within a couple of hours. (CDC)