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Sister of Scottsdale woman killed in crash speaks on dangers of drinking and driving

By Alexis Dominguez

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    SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (KTVK, KPHO) — A Scottsdale woman’s family is speaking about the dangers of drinking and driving after the mother of two was killed in a bad crash the day before New Year’s Eve. “Dawn was small but mighty,” said Dawn Paugh’s sister, Heather Hassan.

Hassan says Dawn made friends easily, speaking to anyone she came across. However, while on her way to celebrate her anniversary, Dawn’s life was cut short. “She was a bright light and touched so many people’s lives,” Hassan says.

The sisters were thick as thieves, and Dawn was Hassan’s biggest role model. After years of being best friends and making memories together as a family, those memories are all she has to hold on to. “It’s a nightmare we can’t wake up from,” Hassan said.

Paugh was killed Friday night. Scottsdale police say Joshua Grabek was driving under the influence and was two times the legal limit. “I have someone to blame for this. This is just a terrible experience I would never wish on anyone in life,” Hassan said.

Police say Grabek was driving on the wrong side of the road when he slammed into an Uber near Hayden and Cactus roads. Inside were Dawn, her husband, Tom Paugh, and their driver, Girard Grassi Jr. “That night, they went out to celebrate their anniversary. Their anniversary is actually on New Year’s Eve, but they didn’t want to go out that night because of all the drunk drivers. So they decided to celebrate with some dear friends of theirs Friday night, and they didn’t make it to dinner,” said Hassan.

Tom is still in the hospital with a broken femur and is expected to have a long recovery. But Hassan says the hardest part of this situation is knowing it could have been prevented. “It only takes a minute or two to call for a ride home. It’s not that difficult. I’ll tell you what is difficult. Either you drive home drunk and you kill someone, kill yourself, hurt someone, or end up in jail. That’s a way more difficult situation to have to tackle the next day, rather than worrying how you’re going to pick up your car in the morning,” Hassan said.

Grabek is facing several charges, including manslaughter and aggravated assault.

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