TOMS RIVER — The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office is renewing a campaign against driving while intoxicated, Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said Monday on the eve of what would have been the 45th birthday of Kimberly Smith Ames who was killed by a drunken driver more than 20 years ago.
Ames, 23, was killed by a 24-year-old Florida man who was intoxicated when he ran a stop sign and struck Ames’ car on Oct. 7, 1998, at the intersection of Oak Street and Beachwood Boulevard in Beachwood, according to Press archives.
The Beachwood resident was recently married and three months pregnant with her first child, Billhimer said.
“Growing up in Ocean County, I was friends with Kimberly’s older brother and sister. I remember vividly the pain and sorrow her family went through dealing with the loss of Kimberly and her unborn baby. To this day, the family is still grieving. It was my honor to reconnect with the Smith family and to have their full support with the relaunching of this campaign. I hope that people will see Kimberly’s face and think twice about getting behind the wheel when they are impaired,” Billhimer said.
“Educating new drivers and the general public about the dangers of impaired driving is always a priority. Enforcement is a priority as me and my office will continue to work with our local law enforcement partners to focus on targeted enforcement to prevent impaired driving,” Billhimer added.
The campaign is in conjunction with the Ocean County Traffic Safety Officer’s Association and will again feature Ames’ story on billboards and signs posted in local stores.
In addition to the campaign, each year the Ocean County Traffic Safety Officer’s Association presents the Kimberly Smith Ames DWI Prevention Award to a police officer who excels at enforcing DWI laws in Ocean County.