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Father of Novato Girl Killed by Drunken Motorcyclist Talks About Meaning of Friday's Sobriety Checkpoint

Aaron Osheroff shares his thoughts about DUI prevention effort set up in the name of his daughter, Melody, who was killed two years ago by a habitual drunken driver.

will set up a sobriety checkpoint Friday in honor of Melody Osheroff, the young Novato girl who was killed in 2009 when a drunk motorcyclist blew through an intersection and struck her and her dad, Aaron Osheroff, in a San Marin neighborhood crosswalk. Melody died of her injuries the next day; Aaron was in a coma and suffered severe injuries before starting his slow recovery.

The motorcyclist, Edward Schaefer of Novato, was a habitual drunken driver. He was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges, sent off to San Quentin State Prison for 24 years to life, and was stabbed to death by another inmate within days of his arrival.

With help from other Marin County law enforcement agencies, Novato police will use hand-held breath testing devices Friday to check blood-alcohol levels of drivers. All drivers going through the checkpoint will be asked to produce a valid driver’s license. The in Novato yielded just one DUI arrest but many other arrests and citations for various offenses.

The location and hours of the checkpoint operation are not released ahead of time to prevent people from circumventing it.

Novato Patch asked Aaron Osheroff to share his thoughts about the checkpoint in his daughter’s name.

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May 27, 2011 will mark two years since my daughter Melody and I were mowed down by a drunk driver. 

Melody was only 9 years old, and she did not survive.  I didn't get to say goodbye to her as I was unconscious when she died.  

As for me, my injuries were horrific.  I lost a leg, nearly lost the other and spent months in the hospital enduring surgery after surgery.  But the physical pain, as bad as it was and has been, does not compare to the grief of losing my child. 

Melody was an angel here on earth.  She was a small shy little girl who was sweet, gentle, empathetic, compassionate, caring, and loving.  I thought of her as pure love. 

The horrors caused by a drunk driver have been unimaginable.  Only a parent who has lost a child can truly understand just how devastating and life-altering this is.   A drunk driver can murder your child, wreck your body and cause horrendous pain that ripples out to the entire family and beyond. Melody's murder devastated my wife Kimberly and myself, our daughter Melissa (who was only 7 years old when this happened), the grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and on and on ...

Personally, I find it appalling that in this day and age, with everyone aware of the dangers of drunk driving, that some people nevertheless selfishly choose to drive while intoxicated.  Drunk drivers destroy lives; they destroy other people's lives; they take what is not theirs to take.  

On May 27, the Novato Police Department will stage a DUI checkpoint in Melody's honor. Frankly, I hope that no one will choose to drive while intoxicated and endanger other people.  But if the Novato Police Department arrests any drunk drivers, they could be saving other innocent people from going through what my family has.

When a law enforcement officer arrests a drunk driver and gets him or her off the road, that officer could be saving someone else from getting killed or having their body wrecked.

Thank you, Novato PD.

Pamela Griffith Pond May 25, 2011 at 10:54 PM
Novato has a terrible problem with drinking -- especially binge drinking among youth. Alcohol is far to readily accessible to our children, and we adults set a poor example when we drive while intoxicated. Even people who are altogether sober drive to fast in residential neighborhoods. I use the sidewalk at San Marin and San Carlos many times each week. It's not unusual to see cars approaching and wonder whether they will stop short of the crosswalk. I applaud the NPD for ticketing speeders on San Marin. They can wait in my driveway any time
Brent Carlson May 26, 2011 at 01:53 AM
R.I.P. Melody Osheroff and Edward Sheafer.. Enough Already.. Melody and her Father, Aaron are the Only Victims.. Ed was a multiple offending Felon before the crime committed.
Julie Duggan May 26, 2011 at 03:48 AM
Aaron, not many days go by when we do not think of you and your beautiful daughter. Each time we cross through that intersection, which is often, our hearts just break more. We don't know you or Kimberly personally, but please know that my family, and my nine year old daughter pray for you, that you may find peace some day. Welcome little Noah. What a precious little guy he must be for you guys :) Kudos to NPD for honoring Melody in this way.

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