My parents Henrietta & Carmelo Sbezzi were the most loving, supportive and generous people one could ever have the honor to meet. They were true family people who had friendships that often exceeded 50+ years. They were loved by all and everyone knew them in the community. Dad would let every restaurant and business in Westchester listen to my Mom’s record. He was so proud of her. Dad was also the most empathetic and generous man I ever knew. He was my hero. He always took care of the underdog and made them feel special and worthy. They lived a very happy life together having been married well over 50 years. They loved spending time with me and my sister and had a special fondness for their Grand-dogs and Grand-cat whom they spoiled with treats, clothes and toys!!

On October 28th, 2016 my world was shattered and my life as I knew it would change forever. It was also my 50th birthday. Instead of joy and happiness I received a call from the hospital telling me my parents were in a crash and I needed to come right away. My parents were struck by a drunk driver at 1pm on a Friday afternoon in Westchester county. The woman driving the vehicle was 3 times the legal limit of alcohol and hit them head on at 50mph throwing them 30 feet off the residential road they were on into a wooded area. My Mother died on the operating table from internal bleeding before I would make it to the hospital. My Father passed several hours later from multiple cardiac arrests due to the trauma his body sustained during the crash. I was not given an opportunity to say goodbye to either of them. The very day I was born was also the day I became an orphan losing both my parents in the most violent way thanks to the reckless and senseless act of a drunk driver.

So how does one pick up the pieces after the devastating and sudden loss of your parents by a drunk driver? There is a new normal now. No longer is my birthday a day to celebrate but rather a day to remember my parents. Holidays seem empty and there is no Mother to talk to when I don’t feel well or Father to talk to when I need encouragement. All because someone intoxicated decided to play Russian roulette and get into a vehicle, which my Dad always told me was a weapon and maimed and killed my parents. I am sure this wasn’t the first time this woman drove drunk but rather the first time she got caught! Lives dramatically altered because of her bad decision.My life’s work and mission now is to play an active role in seeing that drunk driving is eradicated from society. As a volunteer for MADD, I strongly support their pillars of education, awareness, victim support & stiffer legislation. Please join me in this cause so that other families will never have to know the pain & unnecessary destruction caused by impaired drivers.

Erica Linn
Daughter of Henrietta & Carmelo Sbezzi