In  memory of her sister, Hillsborough County Chapter President for Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers Linda Unfried, (center) receives a plaque during DUI checkpoint set up last month by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Keeping motorists and pedestrians safe on the road by pulling unsafe ones off is on the top of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to-do list and for a good reason.

According to recent reports, on average, one in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime and almost every 90 seconds a person is injured.

HCSO deputies regularly set up DUI checkpoints at strategically chosen roads and intersection throughout the county.
One of such spots set up lat month at S.R. 60 and Parson Ave. in Brandon served more than one purpose.

According to HCSO Operation 3D DUI Task Force Mounted Enforcement Team Deputy Brian Pulido, the checkpoints also provided a way to remember DUI victims and show support of their families.

As deputies were getting ready to start the operation, Colonel Greg Brown, Department of Patrol Service and members of the HCSO DUI Squad dedicated the checkpoint in the memory of 17-year-old Josie DiStefano Palomino, who was killed by a drunk driver nearly 28 years ago.

Brown presented a plaque to Linda Unfried in honor of her sister, Josie.

Sheriff David Gee added his seal of approval when he said, “We will continue to lead the effort in arresting drunk drivers and removing them from our roadways in hopes that one day these dedications will no longer be needed.”

Unfried is the Hillsborough County Chapter President for Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) and has dedicated decades to providing public awareness against drunk driving and keeping the county roads safe.

After the death of her sister, Unfried co-founded MADD in Hillsborough County, “to give our loved ones a voice in the courtroom and to help educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving,” she said

To support the families of DUI victims and raise awareness, MADD is hosting its fifth annual Walk Like MADD, a family event with lots of food and activities before and after the event, scheduled this year for Friday, March 23, at USF campus.

Registration is $20 pr adult and $15 per youth (age 5–15) and will begin at 5 p.m. The walk begins at 7pm.

For more information about Walk Like MADD, to become an HCSO team member and to register for the upcoming walk/run event, please, visit

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