Voices of Victims

Why We’re Here: Joey Romero
By MADD | October 2, 2013 | Filed in: Victim Stories , Drugged Driving

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.

Why We're Here: Stacey Heizer
By MADD | September 3, 2013 | Filed in: Drunk Driving , Victim Services , Victim Stories , Volunteers

Stacey preparing to speak at a MADD event

Stacey Heizer just began her senior year of high school in the fall of 2000. She was an honor student, a varsity tennis player, and the girl at school that everyone wanted to be around.

But on September 1st, just days before her 17th birthday, Stacey was driving with friends when a drunk driver crossed the center lane and crashed into Stacey’s car.  Stacey was pinned, and the extreme impact from the crash lodged the orthodontic retainer she was wearing into the back of her throat.  Fortunately, one of Stacey’s friends was able to clear her airway and support Stacey until the rescue team arrived. Without this friend's lifesaving actions, the outcome likely would have been completely different for Stacey.

Emergency responders pried Stacey out of the car with the Jaws of Life, and she was HALO-flighted to the hospital where doctors prepared her family for the worst, including the possibility that she might never come out of the coma.

Stacey remained in a coma for nearly three months, but slowly she started responding. On Thanksgiving Day, she was able to say, “Mom, I love you.”

Thirteen years after the crash, Stacey is still struggling with her injuries. She has a Traumatic Brain Injury that causes double vision, balance problems, short term memory loss, tremor in her hands and trouble with concentration. She also struggles with depression due to her constant pain, as well as the frustration of not being able to live a “normal” life.

Stacey spends her days doing physical rehab, speech rehab and cognitive therapy; but when she is not working on her rehabilitation, she is volunteering with MADD. 

Stacey at press conference for TxDOT's Faces of Drunk Driving Campaign

Among her many other activities to help prevent drunk driving, Stacey has given numerous speeches and presentations with MADD over the last several years, and she recently attended the MADD’s Victim Advocate Training Institute.  She participates with TxDOT in their anti-drinking and driving campaigns and really enjoys speaking to law enforcement about their duty to keep drunk drivers off our streets.  She has been sought after by every agency in the county and has been called the highlight of DWI training programs.

Stacey is determined to find a job that she can do every day to make her life even more meaningful. But until that day comes, Stacey says she will continue to volunteer with MADD, doing speaking engagements, presentations and talking to both youth and adults about underage drinking and substance impaired driving.

Later this this month at the MADD Central Texas Law Enforcement luncheon, Stacey will be honored for her efforts to help inform and teach the officers who protect our streets.

We are so thankful to have such a wonderful volunteer like Stacey, who can have such a significant impact on others by sharing her story.  If you are interested in sharing your story, click here to contact your local office.

Stacey's car the night of the crash

Items 11 - 12 of 32  Previous12345678910Next

Powered by Convio
nonprofit software