Impact of Peshlakai sisters continues

Annual Angels vs. Drunk Drivers Bike Run set for June 17

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Posters of the late DeShauna and Del Lynn Peshlakai, the sisters who were killed by a drunk driver in 2010, are displayed on a metal cage inside the police vehicle of McKinley County Sheriff’s Deputy Josie Bowman.

WINDOW ROCK

The images of Darlene Peshlakai’s late daughters – DeShauna, 17, and Del Lynn, 19, at the time of their deaths – continue to spread awareness that drinking and driving is not only illegal but potentially deadly.

Two giant-sized magnetic posters of the girls are posted on the back of a metal cage in the vehicle of McKinley County Sheriff’s Deputy Josie Bowman.

Bowman said she placed them there for suspected drunken drivers to look at. The eight-year law enforcement officer said that while some responses she gets from people she arrests are positive, she also gets negative responses.

She remembers one particular person she arrested for drunk driving.

According to Bowman, she responded to an accident in Tohlakai, New Mexico, which is north of Ya-Tah-Hey on U.S. Highway 491, at the Giant store on March 5.

She arrested Victor Leslie for driving while intoxicated and allegedly damaging property. Bowman said no one was injured in the accident caused by Leslie.

She also discovered Leslie had already been convicted for seven DWI prior offenses. If convicted as a result of his arrest by Bowman, it would be his eighth.

When she placed him into the back of her police vehicle, she said Leslie began remarking about the posters of the Peshlakai sisters.

“He tells me, ‘Why don’t you take down this f***ing magnet,'” she said. “‘I’m tired of about hearing about these f****ing girls. I told him that they died from a drunk driver like you.”

After awhile, Leslie calmed down. Bowman asked him what he would think if it was his children or a close relative who were killed by a drunk driver.

“You’re right,” was his response, she said.

Leslie is awaiting trial for his alleged eighth offense.

The deputy said for those who hear about the Peshlakai tragedy for the first time, they usually ask the deputy to give their condolences to the family.

“They always make a comment about them,” Bowman said. “I let them know how they died, how old they were. They get quiet and they send their condolences to the family. They’re amazed how far awareness has come and reached out.”

She said the DWI arrests she made so far this year – seven – are “normal.” Two of those DWI calls resulted in three fatalities caused by a drunk driver.


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