Investigation reveals frequent DUI areas in Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- A man in South Omaha was hit by not one but two drunk drivers in his area.

We are on your side investigating where the most DUI crashes happen in the city.

"I started to back into my driveway and I start - I got almost all of the way in and I just looked over and I seen lights coming at me" Jeff Kohler is explaining the latest DUI crash to our 6 News crew. "And I seen him actually slumped over like he fell asleep at the wheel."

Kohler was getting home from a basketball game Friday night when he was hit by Thomas Perina, a suspected drunk driver.

"He lives one block from the bar he was at. And I don't know why he wouldn't have just left his vehicle at the bar and just walk home," Kohler said.

Perina was cited for DUI and careless driving by OPD.

A few days later, Kohler is doing okay but he's a little sore. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time he's been hit by a drunk driver in South Omaha.

"I was going through a green light and a drunk driver was just - came right through the light, he didn't stop. He t-boned me and I hit the car next to me and he bounced off me and hit the pole," Kohler explained. That driver was uninsured.

Hearing Kohler's story, we did some digging to find out where the most DUI accidents happen in and around Omaha. OPD's crime-mapping website only dates back to six months, but city traffic engineers were able to give some answers.

The majority of DUI crashes are happening in Downtown, Midtown, Benson and South Omaha.

The data is from 2014 until 2018, there were more than 600 DUI crashes in each of those years. With 2014 and 2018 having almost 700 crashes each.

Data also shows most crashes happen on major roadways, not neighborhood streets like what happened to Kohler.

His sister, Shanda Edwards rushed to his side the night of the accident, she's calling for action.

"Would you want it to happen to you," Edwards wondered aloud. "Would you want somebody to get in their car drunk and hit your child? Or your mother, or father or you know sister, brother?"

Her brother's experiences had Edwards calling on her South Omaha neighbors to make safer decisions when it comes to drinking and driving, maybe have city officials do more.

"Driving's a privilege, if you can't drive legally and laWfully and respectfully, you shouldn't drive. No exceptions," Edwards said.

Vinny Palermo, the city councilman for South Omaha, says drunk driving is not just an issue in his district, it's a citywide problem.

But he says for South Omaha, information about drinking and driving needs to be provided in English and Spanish.