CHP Officer

‘Falling': North County Family's Tragedy, Dangers of Drunk Driving Profiled in CHP Documentary

A documentary produced by the California Highway Patrol tells the story of a Valley Center family killed in a drunk driving crash in Austin, Texas, and provides yet another example of an avoidable tragedy stemming from intoxicated driving

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A new documentary released by the California Highway Patrol profiles a Valley Center family destroyed by a driver who got behind the wheel while drunk.

The documentary provides yet another example of the dangers of driving while intoxicated, and tells the victim family's story through the words and heart of one of the agency's own officers.

“It's called 'Falling.' It's a documentary actually, unfortunately, about my own family," said CHP Officer Mark Latulippe, a Public Information Officer with the department.

In 2017, Officer Latulippe's cousin, Scott Latulippe, and his cousin's family were traveling in Austin, Texas when a drunk driver crashed into their car.

“I just remember looking at everyone and all I was thinking was, 'I love you, I love you, I love you,' because I didn't know what was going to happen next,” said Scott Latulippe's daughter Kiera Latulippe.

Scott Latulippe, his wife Nancy, and their 14-year-old son Jackson died in the crash. Kiera, who was 10 years old at the time, survived.

“All for a for a really, really bad reason, which is driving under the influence, and the person that took them was under the influence by almost double the legal limit," said Officer Latulippe.

Officer Latulippe said his goal as a CHP officer is to prevent these crimes.

“When options are out there and we can call and use our phone to grab a taxi, we can designate a driver, there are so many options now that this never should have happened," he said. "I shouldn't be telling this story."

Officer Latulippe speaks at schools, does presentations and recently participated in the "Falling" documentary, bravely sharing his family's story alongside Kiera.

Officer Latulippe became Kiera's legal guardian after her parents' death.

“Nancy's parents, they've received a life sentence," said Officer Latulippe. "My cousin's brother received a life and Kiera will receive a life sentence of not having her parents here to guide her, her brother's love, that is all gone away all because of that act. One choice, one bad choice."

The drunk driver was eventually convicted for the family members' deaths and was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

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