Family pushes for stiffer drunken driving punishment following fatal crash

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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) -- "When he said goodbye to me that morning and told me he loved me, I thought I was going to see him later that day.”

Jody Korhonen's life was flipped upside down July 8 when she her husband and daughter were involved in crash.

"I was absolutely shocked... sad. It was the worst nightmare I ever had and I just wanted it to not be real. I wanted somebody to wake me up,” she recalled.

Jody's husband, Rob, died at the scene. Their daughter, Stacey Zarda, 25, was seriously injured.

“Well my dad and I were at Iola. I remember getting on the back of the Harley to drive home and the next thing I remember I was being airborne 30 plus feet in the air and landing on the side of the road.

Investigators said Rob and Stacey were struck by a suspected drunken driver that crossed the center line.

"I feel empty. I feel like my soul went with him but I can't feel what he feels or sees. I feel like I was just left behind. An empty, living breathing shell,” Jody said.

Stacey is still recovering physically.

"I shattered my right elbow. That I still can't fully function. My pelvis bone split in half and I suffered many lacerations to my right leg and a skull fracture,” she said.

The road to recovery is still long one for Stacey and the entire Korhonen family, But they're hoping Rob's story can lead to a positive change in state's law for drunken driving.

"We don't want what happened to Rob and Stacey to be just another statistic. So what we are trying to accomplish is really to bring awareness to stiffer laws with multiple drunk driving offenders,” explained Rob's sister, Kathleen Rytman.

Kathleen Rytman and Michael Witt will began the 131 mile trek from the crash site in the Town of Alban Thursday, with the hope of arriving in Madison on Saturday.

When they arrive in Madison they plan to meet with Jody and the rest of Rob's family and friends.
They'll share his story with people in the area.

The family said they're frustrated because the suspected drunken driver had previous convictions.

"If it had been somebody's first time.... If they had just made a mistake then fine, but it wasn't. It was a choice. I it was her third time and she should have never been driving,” explained Rob's other daughter, Karissa Korhonen

The family said they hope to make the run an annual event.

The suspected driver, Billie Jo Mc Sherry was arrested at the scene. Investigators said she was four times over the legal limit for driving.