Sandy Heverly is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of STOP DUI, a Nevada grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to stopping the violent crime of driving under the influence and assisting the victims of this crime. As Executive Director and Spokesperson for STOP DUI, her responsibilities include overseeing and coordinating all activities of the organization and working in all phases of its development.
Ms. Heverly’s involvement with the anti-DUI movement began in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1983. Her impetus was the horrific victimization of her family by a drinking driver. Sandy, her mother, her husband and four children were all very seriously injured in the crash. Her mother’s injuries ultimately led to an untimely death. The offender was under age, had two prior DUI’s, was driving on a suspended license, speeding, ran a stop sign and left the scene. He received a $100.00 fine for his crimes.
Sandy quickly learned that entering the criminal justice system is akin to being lost in a foreign country and not speaking the language. She also learned that driving under the influence was not viewed as a serious or violent crime by the public in general and the judiciary in particular. Due to her family’s tragic experience she believed she could change that perception and help future victims of this violent crime. She established a Victim’s Assistance Program that includes immediate financial assistance to needy DUI victims. STOP DUI is the only anti-DUI organization in the country that provides that level of assistance.
Ms. Heverly has worked with and provided victim assistance to thousands of DUI victims. This includes helping victims through the grieving and recovery process, assessing financial and counseling needs, assisting with the preparation of victim impact statements and accompanying victims to all court proceedings from arraignment to parole hearings. She works closely with the judicial system to provide the best possible outcome for the victim.
Recognizing the importance of education and awareness to the crime of driving under the influence, Ms. Heverly founded and coordinates a speaker’s bureau that presents to schools, civic organizations, businesses, prisons and juvenile offender facilities. Believing that DUI offenders should see and hear first hand the devastation caused to DUI victims, Sandy created the first DUI Victim Impact Panel concept in the nation.
Sandy has given thousands of presentations including the American Medical Association, The National Judicial College, The National Association of State Troopers and hundreds of local, national and international media interviews. She created and appeared in numerous public service announcements, introduced SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) to Nevada students and has traveled extensively throughout Nevada and the U.S. spreading the anti-DUI message. Sandy has worked with many celebrities on the issue including Stevie Wonder, Burt Reynolds, The Oak Ridge Boys, Debbie Reynolds, Siegfried and Roy and others.
Ms. Heverly’s legislative efforts include passage of laws to benefit the innocent victims of crime in general and DUI victims in particular. Her involvement has contributed to Nevada enacting some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation i.e. Mandatory incarceration for felony offenders, DUI victim compensation, crime victims oral impact statement, mandatory alcohol sever-seller training ordinance in Clark County, bail revision (Clark County Judges set the highest DUI bail in the country) open container law, DUI child endangerment statute, truth in sentencing, mandatory chemical testing for all DUI offenders, increased penalties for hit and run offenders, mandatory attendance for DUI offenders to victim impact panels, establishing .08 as the illegal BAC for Nevada and initiated vehicular homicide legislation to raise the penalty for DUI death after a third offense to a category a felony with a penalty of 25 years to life imprisonment. Sandy also successfully pursued the creation of a specialized DUI Prosecution Unit in the District Attorney’s Office. It is the only one of its kind in the nation.
Ms. Heverly has promoted the anti-DUI message via electronic and print media, reader boards, bill boards, bus shelters, signage in offices and businesses, on cabs, buses, law enforcement and emergency vehicles, in parades, on jetliners, Hoover Dam, McCarran International Airport, sky divers, and from hot air balloons.
Sandy sat on numerous boards and committees to address crime victim rights and DUI issues. Most notably, the Governors Commission on Drinking and Driving, National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, The Clark County Citizens Coalition for Victims Rights, The Surgeon Generals Advisory Board on Drunk Driving, the National Commission Against Drunk Driving, and the Nevada Advisory Council on Impaired Driving. Most recently, Sandy was appointed to President Bush’s 11 member commission on Drug Free Communities and currently serves as Chairwoman of the Attorney General’s Coalition On Impaired Driving. In December of 2008, Ms. Heverly accepted an invitation by President George W. Bush to participate with him in a round table discussion and news conference on the status and accomplishments of reducing teen drug abuse.
In 2003 Sandy coordinated a coalition (“Nevadan’s Against Legalizing Marijuana”) to defeat the attempts of the Marijuana Policy Project to legalize 3 ounces of marijuana in the State of Nevada. Her tireless efforts contributed to the Marijuana Ballot Initiative being defeated 61% to 39%.
Ms. Heverly has received many local, state and national awards for her grassroots activism some of which include the Clark County Community Coalition for Victims Rights “Gary Collie Award” for exemplary contributions to the cause of victim rights and services, the “Clark County Humanitarian Award”, STOP DUI “Caring Enough To Make A Difference” award, United States Congressional Recognition Award for outstanding leadership and achievement, United States Senate Achievement award, Southland Corporation “Splendid Torch” award, J.C. Penny “Golden Rule” award, Clark County District Attorney’s Meritorious Service Award, Clark County School District Office of Substance Abuse Education and Prevention Award, Attorney General’s Silver State Citizens Award, Twice received the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “Public Service Award”, Safe Communities Partnership Award, Stand Tall Don’t Fall Award, “Dan Miller Award for Excellence”, Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Woman of Achievement Award, Attorney General’s Woman’s Role Model Award, and The Attorney General’s “Spirit of Nevada” Award.
Ms. Heverly was also honored by President George Bush, U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornberg and the U.S. Department of Justice in a Rose Garden Ceremony for her outstanding contributions regarding victim’s rights and DUI legislation. She was selected by the President’s Cabinet from among 200 individuals from around the nation to receive this award which is the most prestigious in the victim rights arena.
Sandy enjoys reading, interior design, gardening and visiting historic cities.
Ms. Heverly was born on April 14th, is married to John. They have four children, David, Bonnie, Tony, and Jennifer and four grandchildren, Giana, Brianna, John and Jorden. Sandy has been a resident of Las Vegas and Henderson since 1964.
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