BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The district attorney’s office held its annual Crime Victim’s March for the first time since 2019 honoring victims of crime, as well as law enforcement and survivors.

This is National Crime Victim’s Awareness Week, which brings attention to the stories of crime victims. Wednesday’s march started at the Kern County courthouse on Truxtun Avenue. Dozens of families came out to honor their lost loved ones.

This year’s march focuses on all victims and survivors, with an emphasis on people who lost their lives to drunk driving. District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer says our community saw twice as many deaths from DUI crashes last year compared to 2020. Britey Embree-Carrington lost her husband to a drunk driver in a crash nine years ago.

“The image of him inside of his cab his clean work clothes, his coffee cup right next to his hand laying there dead is something that will never leave me,” said Embree-Carrington. “The poor choices of a man who killed my husband left me widowed at 24 and my two-year-old son fatherless.”

This comes as other crimes surge in Kern County. 17 News data shows at least 36 people have lost their lives to violence so far this year. This comes after Kern saw 137 homicides in 2021, just three short of 2020’s all-time high of 140. That’s the year Bertha Rodriguez lost her son, Alvaro Isaias Rodriguez Gaona. It happened just days before he would have turned 21.

“Four individuals came to his car trying to get him out of the car. His friend stepped on the gas to try to get away. They shot at the car with four other people in the vehicle. My son was one of the people that was impacted,” said Rodriguez. “He died in my daughter’s arms.”

If you or a loved one have been impacted by crime you can call the Victim Services Unit at the District Attorney’s office at 661-868-2400.