By Alex Fees
St. Louis (KSDK) - A man has been charged with hitting four pedestrians Tuesday.
St. Louis resident 66-year-old Alfred James was charged Wednesday with four counts of second-degree assault and operating a car while intoxicated.
The charges are in connection to a crash on Kingshighway at Lansdowne Tuesday evening.
St. Louis police say James lost control of his pick-up truck and struck two teenagers and two toddlers walking on the sidewalk. All four were taken to area hospitals with injuries that are not expected to be life-threatening.
Missouri State Highway Patrol statistics indicate that in 2010, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., there were 1,861 alcohol-related crashes. Between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m, that number went down to 641.
The difference, according to officials in the Gateway Chapter of MADD, in that late afternoon four hour period is what is known as happy hour.
Meghan Carter is Executive Director of the Gateway Chapter of MADD, which stands for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
"Unfortunately," said Carter, "the community doesn't realize it is more prevalent than most people think. Between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., there is a rise in drunk driving. This has to do with people getting off work, happy hours, and just kind of using it as a stress-reliever to go somewhere after work and just kind of relax before they go home."
MADD officials like to remind people that alcohol-related crashes are no accidents; they are 100 percent preventable.
"We always encourage everyone to have a plan before you go out," said Carter. "Whether you're planning on drinking, or you're planning on having a designated driver, make sure that plan stays that way all evening. And if it does change, and it your designated driver ends up drinking, call a cab."
Call somebody. Have somebody pick you up.
Carter said in 2011, MADD Gateway Chapter served more than 150 drunk driving victims from the St. Louis area. Those services include monthly support groups, and assistance in court matters. All services are free.
Carter said, "A lot of times our victim advocate here in the St. Louis office receives phone calls from victims ranging anywhere from being concerned the suspect could be getting off on a light sentence, to they're just needing emotional support for themselves and want to know if there's any way we can help."
There is. MADD's funding comes exclusively from corporate and individual donations and grants MADD officials apply for.
Carter said, "We have people who call the next day after a crash and others who call a few years afterwards because they're still dealing with the emotional stress of losing their loved one."
The Gateway Chapter of MADD can be reached at 314-426-1595.