Public safety a concern following OSU student death

BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) – The death of 19-year-old Kasey Waychoff allegedly at the hands of Justin Lott serves as a stern reminder of the dangers of mixing alcohol and driving.

“Nothing good ever comes out of drinking and driving and this is one of those instances where it’s unfortunately the case,” Grant Brown, director of recreation and cultural affairs, said.

Brown said for their part, the police try to be diligent about punishing those who needlessly risk their and others’ lives.

“We are very low to no tolerance at all. Very often, our correctional facility is full of people who have chosen, for whatever reason, to be distracted texting and driving or drinking and driving,” Brown said.

He said the main deterrent is the presence of police officers and life guards. It’s something Orange Beach practices as well.

“The biggest thing the City of Orange Beach is trying to do at this point, is we have lifeguards out, we’re covering from Perdido Pass to the State Park Pavillion,” Melvin Shepard, beach safety director for Orange Beach, said. “We are going to have lifeguards who are patrolling the State Park Pavillion as well as putting a lifeguard tower there this summer.”

But as for pedestrians, Brown said they are continuing to add sidewalks, but said there is no perfect solution.

“In the case that we’re talking about here, the driver actually left the roadway. So I don’t know how you can get people safe. There’s no, unfortunately, perfect safety condition,” Brown said.

“I think they’re doing all they can do,” Jo Little, a Gulf Shores resident, said. “There’s so much traffic here, there’s spring breakers and then you’ve got snowbirds up north that haven’t left yet and I don’t know what more they can do.”

The best thing is to just be aware of your surroundings and walk against the flow of traffic if you’re on foot.

Lott is currently being held on a $140,000 bond for charges of driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident and manslaughter.

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