Why We’re Here: Joey Romero

Joey Romero was a high school senior who loved to make people laugh. He was involved in many sports and planned to join the army after graduation, to serve his country as a military police officer.  He eventually wanted to become a police officer.

On October 29, 2010, 18-year-old Joey was walking on the sidewalk on his way home from work, when a driver jumped the curb and ran him over.  The driver then fled the scene. Two days later, Joey died as a result of his injuries.

According to authorities, the driver was so incoherent from a prescription medicine (that came with instructions to not drive), that she thought she'd hit a pole, tree or bush. As part of a plea deal, she was sentenced to six years in prison and three years of probation for negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident.

After the crash, Joey's family began pushing for increased penalties for hit-and-run drivers. Under "Joey's Law," drivers who kill someone and then drive off could lose their license for a decade.   Joey’s family members are also dedicated MADD supporters, who participate in MADD support groups, Walk Like MADD events, candlelight vigils, and law enforcement recognition events.

Joey Romero is another tragic example of how alcohol isn’t the only drug that causes heartbreak on our roadways. Drugged driving, which includes driving while under the influence of illegal drugs, prescription medications and sometimes even over-the-counter medications — often times, in combination with alcohol — is a growing threat on our roadways.  Although the substances are different, the consequences are the same — needless deaths and injuries.