CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A go-kart track is turning into a platform to advocate against driving under the influence this Friday night.
Kart Racing for Heroes hosts four races each year at go-kart tracks around the state. The organization invites military members, first responders and law enforcement officers to attend and participate in the races. The organization believes karting gives them a way to deal with high stress from their jobs instead of turning to drugs or alcohol.
“It’s just our way of saying, 'thank you not for what you did yesterday, but what you do every day in keeping us safer on our roads and in our houses,'" said Kart Racing for Heroes president Craig Mansfield.
Mansfield started the organization eight years ago after his son, Kris Mansfield, was killed by a drunk driver.
“Every holiday, every day we have an empty chair at our house that we shouldn’t have. We miss him and we miss him every day," said Mansfield.
The inspiration for go-kart racing came from Craig and Kris' love for racing go-karts together.
“One day I couldn’t find him and I am looking like this and I am looking like that and then bam in the back of my bumper. He was just letting me know he was faster than I am and I should get out of the way," said Mansfield.
Colorado State Patrol Troopers say driving under the influence is a serious issue, and they are on the lookout for both drunk and drugged driving.
“There may be different signs or indicators depending on whether it’s a certain narcotic or alcohol but ultimately we perform the test of, 'do I want this person driving around me, my family and my friends?'" said CSP Trooper Josh Lewis.
Troopers say some people may not realize or accept that they are putting themselves and others on the road at risk by driving intoxicated.
“Understand what substances do to you. Just because you may not feel the high, you may not feel the buzz or maybe it’s a new prescription that you can legally have, absolutely, but you can still be charged with driving under the influence of it," said Lewis.