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SPECIAL STORY: Alcohol Awareness In The Basin

You might like to go out with your friends and have a good time, and maybe have a few drinks. Do you know your limits?
MIDLAND, TX (Local Big 2 News) -- You might like to go out with your friends and have a good time, and maybe have a few drinks. Do you know your limits?

Beer, Bacardi, and Bailey's in the Basin. Alcohol. It's all around us.
Liquor stores sprinkled throughout the Permian Basin give way for boose.

"When you don't have a lot to do, drinking seems to be a pastime," said Luigi's owner Michael Hochman.

But sometimes trouble happens after a few beers or a fruity cocktail.

"Stop and think before you drink," said Stop DWI Victim Advocate Phyllis Peek.

The statistics say no.

"The numbers don't lie, we have a problem," said Hochman.

A problem that doesn't seem to be drying up anytime soon in the Lone Star State.
Gene Powell with the Texas Department of Transportation broke down the numbers for me.

"Statewide in recent years, alcohol involved fatalities have been about one-third of all fatalities on the road," said Powell.

And here in Midland, I learned more than half of all crash fatalities involve alcohol.

"That's staggering isn't it? I mean half the people that are dying didn't have to die," said Hochman.

Something Michael Hochman thinks about everyday.

"Don't think it can't happen to you, or to your loved ones, because it happened to me, and nothing ever bad ever happened to me," said Hochman.

It's been six years since his life turned upside down, but his memories never faded.

"I know the pain, the hurt and the devastation," said Hochman.

I spent an afternoon with Hochman. We talked about his tragedy in the place at the center of it all, his restaurant, Luigi's.

He lost the love of his life, Patsy, in an accident involving a controlled substance.

"It just shocks me, and hurts me," said Hochman.

So he decided to take matters into his own hands and change his restaurants drinking policy. A two drink maximum, also a revenue risk.

"Our revenues did fall, but gosh what's the price on a life," said Hochman.

His maximum has a message.

Hopefully, we can save just one life," said Hochman.

Hochman believes he planted a seed, one that reminds customers of the deadly dangers of driving under the influence.

"One gentleman told me that he went to another restaurant in Midland and he was about ready to order his third beer, and he remembered our policy, and he said I just want to have two," said Hochman.

But it's not just Luigi's trying to stop this epidemic.
Liquor stores like Bill's Bottle Shop found a way to make sure the next statistic doesn't walk out their front door.

"If they've been here at 10 o'clock in the morning, they come back at noon, and they come back at 2 o'clock, no, we are going to stop, we're not going to sell it to them," said Bill's Bottle Shop employee Doreen Nguyen.

But regardless, people will still do what they want.

"It's still mind numbing that people will still take the chance of drinking and driving," said Powell.

And result in a careless act that will forever follow someone forever.

"You kill one person, it doesn't just kill one person, it destroys families, and I'm living proof of it," said Hochman.

Especially a man, who says a special angel looks over him.
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