By Deborah Weinstein, David’s Mom
My son David was killed by a drunk driver May 11, 2011. It was two days after Mother’s Day and two days before his 30th Birthday.
All because of someone’s selfish act, my husband and I, along with our family and his friends, will always have a missing piece in our lives. The drunk driver who killed David was sentenced to 8 years in prison. But the number of years does not matter, I will never get my son back. He was sweet, kind and loved by everyone. There is not a day that goes by that David is not in our thoughts.
After David died I was searching for something...I needed a purpose to move forward. I went on the MADD website. I noticed they had a walk, Walk Like MADD. I am the owner of Curves, a women’s fitness center, and walks for charities and fitness is what I do. But there wasn’t walk in St. Louis. There was not even a walk in Missouri.
I went to the MADD office in St. Louis and talked with Meghan Carter, the State Executive Director for Missouri, and I told her I wanted to start a walk in our city. And that is what we did. I wasn’t sure if I could raise $500 or $5,000.
We had our first walk in May 2013. It was important to me to have the walk in May. It’s Mother’s Day, David’s Birthday and the anniversary of David’s death. In year one, we raised $15,000. In 2014 we raised $15,000 and this year we raised $17,000.
Each year the walk grows and we have more and more teams come together to honor their loved ones. This year we added a raffle. Next year we are adding a timed race to encourage more runners to participate, and I want to continue to add sponsors.
David's Family at Walk Like MADD
The walk is everything that I expected it to be, and more. It allows us to all come together to honor and celebrate our loved ones. You are able to meet others who understand your pain and find out that you are not alone.
I do not want David to have died in vain. I want to bring awareness to the dangers of drunk driving. Raising more awareness can only be done if we help raise the money to help fund MADD programs. The deaths by drunk driving are 100% preventable. MADD has so many services to help those affected by drunk driving. I share David’s story with you in the hope that you will see the work we still have to do to save lives like his.
I could not have done this without the support of all my family and friends. My family supports MADD and hopes that by walking and raising awareness we can spare someone else this heartache. I don’t want anyone to feel the pain and loss that my family has suffered.
Everyone tells me how strong I am. You don’t know how strong you are until you have to be.
On December 17, 2004, Krystal Foster’s husband Chris and daughter Raven picked her up from work at 10:30 p.m. Thirteen minutes later, they were hit by an underage drunk driver.
The driver was high on drugs and had a BAC that was twice the legal limit. He was driving the wrong way on the freeway at 110 miles per hour – and hit their car head on. Krystal was not expected to live through the night. She was in a coma for the next 30 days. It was only after she awoke that she found out what happened...
Christopher, the love of her life, died on the way to the hospital. Krystal was still in a coma when they held his funeral.
Krystal’s daughter Raven suffered traumatic brain injury and shock. At only five years old, she saw her step-dad die in front of her and her mother critically injured. Krystal was also pregnant at the time of the crash, but the impact caused a miscarriage.
“When I woke up 30 days later to find out my husband was gone, I lost our child and my daughter had been hurt and without me or her step-dad, I was inconsolable,” Krystal said.
When Krystal woke up from the coma, she received the care package from MADD along with a “We Care Card.” “It was really a huge blessing to me,” Krystal says.
Krystal’s life was totally changed forever that night. And in the last 10 years since the crash, Krystal has received continued support from MADD to help deal with those changes. She has used MADD’s online victim services tools to connect with other victims and survivors. She found guidance to help her deal with survivor’s guilt and cope with her injury.
Krystal says that being a police dispatcher and helping victims of drunk driving crashes and working for the community, she never thought that she would be a victim. But we know that two out of three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.
Krystal now volunteers with MADD Ohio and shares her story of loss and how she and her daughter Raven have defied the odds and overcame their injuries.
If you are interested in becoming a MADD volunteer to share your story or help further MADD’s mission, you can learn more or sign up at madd.org/volunteer.
MADD and Uber are celebrating our one-year anniversary of working together to keep families and the roads safe. This July 4th, MADD wants to thank all of the Uber driver-partners for being a go-to option when someone needs a non-drinking designated driver.
Uber drivers are designated drivers—and that’s worth some fireworks!
But what’s heartbreaking is that American’s who are out enjoying our nation’s freedoms have their freedom to live taken away due to one person’s choice to drink and drive. Every year, nearly 200 people are killed in drunk driving crashes during the Fourth of July holiday. MADD wants that number to be zero – no more victims.
Uber is helping us through a nationwide radio public service holiday campaign, asking everyone to support our important mission by taking the pledge to not drink and drive. In addition, Uber will match all donations made through this campaign during the holiday weekend, up to $25,000!
Janet, one of Uber’s driver-partners, was an ambulance medic for over 20 years. During that time, she responded to thousands of tragedies, many of which involved drunk driving. Listen to the radio ad where Janet says she drives with Uber to prevent those crashes before they happen.
We are proud to work with Uber on this important awareness campaign to remind everyone that drunk driving is 100% preventable, and to always designate a non-drinking driver if your plans include alcohol.
Thank you to Uber and their driver-partners for helping keep our cities safe this Fourth of July!
July marks the 11th anniversary of our son Dustin’s death at the hands of a drunk and drugged driver.
It doesn’t seem like yesterday. It’s been 11 long, and painful years of missing someone you love. Of family gatherings that don’t have every member of the family attending. Of court proceedings. Of no remorse from the offender.
No, it doesn’t seem like yesterday. But still, the memories of the worst day of our lives are still vivid—the knock on the door… the news that shatters your very being. These feelings are shared by many of us who have lost someone we love by this senseless crime. That’s why what MADD does every day is so important. We’re on a Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving so others won’t have to suffer as we have.
By supporting law enforcement, talking to legislators about passing stricter laws, developing new technology and helping victims through their tragedy, Mothers Against Drunk Driving is making a difference.
No, it doesn't seem like yesterday. I miss Dustin today, and always. But I’m proud to honor his life, as I will on July 10th and every other day through my work with MADD.
So, together, let's turn the dark yesterdays into the bright days of the future.
Today, MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church and MADD North Carolina Executive Director LaRonda Scott were joined by two dozen volunteers for a Lobby Day and Press Conference in Raleigh to urge the North Carolina General Assembly to pass a tougher drunk driving law.
North Carolina needs SB 619/HB 877 to expand the ignition interlock law to all convicted drunk drivers. Currently, North Carolina requires ignition interlocks for repeat offenders, those who refuse a chemical test and first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 and above.
Nearly one-third of traffic deaths in North Carolina were caused by a drunk driver in 2013. That year, 371 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes across the state.
More must be done, Sheehey-Church told the crowd.
“We can’t wait another year to stop the carnage that on average claims one life every day in North Carolina,” she said.
The MADD volunteers will visit legislators throughout the day to share their stories and ask them to update North Carolina’s law.
MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church with North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest