Why We’re Here: Tommy Ford
June 5, 2013
Tommy Ford, a 20-year-old from east Texas, had two loves: first and foremost his then 2-year-old daughter Bailee—his mother Corinne Peacock said “he was an amazing father;” and second, dirt stock car racing. Tommy loved to work on race cars, trucks… anything he could get his hands on.
On the night of May 29, 2011, Tommy was riding in the bed of his friend’s pick-up truck, when the driver, who had been drinking, sped down a country back road, missed the turn and crashed into a tree. Tommy suffered a fatal head injury from the truck’s tool box. There were three other passengers in the truck, including Tommy’s girlfriend, all were uninjured. The driver and another passenger fled the scene and hid for several days.
Police found several empty alcohol containers in the vehicle, and the driver later admitted to drinking and driving. He was sentenced to eight years for criminal negligent homicide and five years for failure to stop and render aid.
After Tommy was killed, Corinne called MADD. She says, “Until you’re a victim, you don’t really know what MADD does. But after Tommy was killed MADD was the first thing I could think of.”
Corinne was connected to the local MADD office in Tyler, Texas, who she calls lifesavers. “I don’t know where I would be today without the MADD team,” Corinne says. She even credits them for helping her surviving children and grandchildren deal with their grief. The MADD team provided materials and support for their family reeling with the tragic and sudden loss.
Last year Corinne and a team of Tommy’s loved ones, participated in their first Walk Like MADD. Corinne will also be attending a MADD volunteer training later this month and hopes to start sharing her story in hopes to prevent others from the heartbreak she’s had to endure because of Tommy’s tragic death.
Corinne says, “In a time of crisis when I didn’t know who to call, I called MADD. I don’t know where our family would be without MADD.”
Why We’re Here: Tiana Tozer
May 1, 2013
At age 20, Tiana Tozer’s life took a dramatic turn when an intoxicated driver ran a stop sign and crashed into the car she was riding in. She stayed in intensive care for more than a month, endured 34 surgeries, and spent four years learning to walk again.
After finding out the driver who caused the crash had been drinking and had a .09 blood alcohol concentration at the time of the crash, Tiana called MADD and spoke with Barb Stoeffler of MADD Oregon. Seven months later, Tiana shared her story for the first time as a speaker at a MADD candlelight vigil. She began sharing her story with schools across Oregon, and worked with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon on a public service campaign.
She also began getting involved in public policy. Tiana helped pass laws establishing .08 as the per se blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in Idaho, Nevada and Illinois. She worked with the Portland Police and DA's office on forfeiture laws. And, she advocated for stronger victim's rights laws in Oregon.
Tiana went on to play wheelchair basketball at the University of Illinois, while she worked on her master's degree. She competed in the Paralympics in 1992 and 1996 and helped Team USA bring home the silver and bronze medals. While living in Illinois she also continued to speak for MADD at Victim Impact Panels and schools.
More recently, Tiana served as a humanitarian aid worker in Iraq and Sudan working with people with disabilities. You can watch an interview about her work in Iraq here. Tiana was honored in 2010 as University of Oregon's Outstanding Young Alumna, and in 2012 the University of Illinois awarded her the Harold Sharper Humanitarian Award for work on behalf of people with disabilities.
Currently, Tiana lives in Portland, Oregon and works part-time for a non-profit that helps with employment and education for people with disabilities. She is also working on her memoir about the crash. She continues to share her story nationwide.
“It was through speaking with MADD and becoming part of the solution that I was really able to heal emotionally, ” Tiana said. “Until DUI is eradicated I will not stop fighting.”
For more information about Tiana visit her website: www.TianaTozer.com.