By Bob Balgemann


For Arthur and Kelly Krenzer, Aug. 26 will always bring back memories of the day their lives were changed forever.

They endured the worst that can happen to parents, the loss of a child, when their son, 20-year-old Christopher, of Garden Prairie, was killed by a drunk driver at the intersection of Perryville and Newburg roads in Rockford.

The Krenzers appeared at a Belvidere City Council meeting five years ago, on the one-year anniversary of their son’s death, to recognize city police officers for their work in DUI enforcement. They returned Monday, Aug. 22, four days before the sixth anniversary of their son’s death, to do the same thing.

Kelly Krenzer said it was important for them to be in city hall five years ago and it was equally important for them to return on Aug. 22.

She said this was a day to recognize police officers who “put their lives on the line to keep us safe. Now I’m a victim’s advocate, supporting other victims. We do a lot of things with the police. It’s our passion to say thank you to them for all the hard work they do.”

Her husband, Arthur, presented the certificates from the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) to officers Paul Davenport, Paul King, and Joseph McDermott.

Davenport, with Belvidere PD for three years, recorded 25 DUI arrests in the past year. King, a Belvidere officer for over nine years, made 19 arrests; McDermott, with the department for three years, had 16 arrests.

In all, the police department, with 42 sworn personnel, made 166 DUI arrests in 2015.

It was started during the committee of the whole meeting that the Krenzers put a face on the work done by Belvidere police in DUI enforcement. Those officers are out there so no other parents are at the podium in city hall, telling their story.

In a letter to Police Chief Jan Noble, dated July 2016, the executive director of AAIM commended city officers for their efforts.

“Every year, hundreds of people are killed and thousands severely injured as a result of alcohol and drug-related crashes in Illinois,” Rita Kreslin wrote. “It takes only seconds to become a victim – without warning or choice.”

She said AAIM’s pledge was “to continue our fight against impaired driving and to persist in our campaign of this 100 percent preventable crime.”

AAIM was formed in 1982 and is based in Schaumburg.


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