Why We're Here: Hugh King and Family


On Sunday, November 24, 1963, Hugh King, his wife Mary, and Mary’s brother Victor and sister-in-law Rubie went out for a Sunday drive.  But what was supposed to be a relaxing trip with loved ones ended in tragedy when a drunk driver slammed into their car from behind.  The collision forced their car into the oncoming lane, where it was then hit head-on by another car.

Hugh died instantly from the impact.   Despite calling for help at the scene, Rubie, who had partially fallen out of the car,  died from her injuries shortly after.  Mary and Victor survived, but with severe injuries; Mary received over 150 stitches in her face and was in the hospital for over six months in traction, and Victor, who was driving, was crushed, suffering massive internal injuries.  

The two people in the oncoming car were also killed.  Within seconds, four lives were gone and many more were torn apart.
Hugh and Mary’s 10-year-old daughter Mak and 16-year-old son Robert were waiting at home for them to return from their drive.  “It was getting dark and I remember thinking that my Mom would be late for church.  She was never late,” Mak said.  Eventually, their 21-year-old daughter Claudia and Mary’s mother came to the house to tell them what happened.  Claudia told them that their parents had been in a wreck and that “Daddy was dead.”

From that instant, their lives were never the same. 

This November marks 50 years since the crash, but the family still feels the impact.  Hugh’s daughter Mak continues to work with MADD in hopes that she can prevent another family from suffering as her family has.   Mak shares her story at MADD events, explaining to the audience how the crash still affects her each day.  When traveling, she still makes her family call when they’ve arrived at their destination.  If she hasn’t heard from someone and doesn’t know where they are, she panics, thinking of the day when she waited for her parents to come home.

Click here to read more about Hugh on his tribute page or make a donation in his honor.

 Hugh King was a WWII veteran.  The roadside memorial sign at the site of the crash reads, “Survived WWII.  Killed by a New Mexico Drunk Driver.”