'A lifetime of heartache' -- Valley mom talks about losing son in drunk driving wreck

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PHOENIX -- Law-enforcement officers are out in force this weekend, hoping to keep people alive by getting drunk drivers off Arizona's roads.

Already officers have arrested more than 20 people for DUI at a Mesa sobriety checkpoint. Another seven passengers were cited for offenses like underage drinking.

One Valley mother told 3TV she wishes every day that an officer had stopped her son they way they're stopped people at these DUI checkpoints. Nancy Clay lost her son to a DUI crash, and she said that loss -- just a few months after son returned home from serving his country -- has created "a lifetime of heartache."

PHOENIX -- Law-enforcement officers are out in force this weekend, hoping to keep people alive by getting drunk drivers off Arizona's roads.

Already officers have arrested more than 20 people for DUI at a Mesa sobriety checkpoint. Another seven passengers were cited for offenses like underage drinking.

One Valley mother told 3TV she wishes every day that an officer had stopped her son they way they're stopped people at these DUI checkpoints. Nancy Clay lost her son to a DUI crash, and she said that loss -- just a few months after her son returned home from serving his country in Iraq -- has created "a lifetime of heartache."

Kale Clay, 23, died 15 months ago. He was in the passenger seat of a friend’s car. That friend was behind the wheel and he had had too much to drink. That driver is serving a 10-year prison sentence in Leavenworth, Clay said.

“My son and the other passenger got a death sentence,” she said. “They were out having some fun. That moment of fun has turned into a lifetime of heartache.”

Clay shared her story with officers who were gearing up for this weekend’s saturation patrols and checkpoints. She wanted them to know exactly how valuable a simple traffic stop can be when it comes to saving lives.

“[Kale’s] death was preventable,” she said. “This was something that did not need to happen.”

Saturation patrols will continue all night and the rest of the weekend across the Valley.

According to DPS, nine people died in crashes across Arizona during the Memorial Day weekend last year. The year before that, seven people were killed, and in 2008, 17 died in Memorial Day crashes.