The doorbell was ringing. It was 1:30 am on Thanksgiving morning 2017. You see, just a few minutes before that I received a phone call from one of my daughter’s friend telling me, “Emylee was in a car accident and she died”. I didn’t believe her and hung up the phone. As my husband and I ran around our bedroom trying to figure out what just happened and replaying what was said, the doorbell was ringing. I took off running down the hallway to the front door, hoping to see my daughter’s sweet face when I opened the door. But when I opened the door, I saw two State Troopers standing there. They asked me, “Is Emylee Anglen your daughter?” That is the moment that changed our lives forever. The officer said that a wrong way driver hit Emylee head on and that she didn’t make it. My husband asked the officer if alcohol had anything to do with it. The officer said, “No, we did not see anything that would indicate that”. At that point, we were told the man that hit our precious daughter had died too, and that it was just an accident.
Eleven Weeks Later:
Fast forward 11 weeks later, when I received a phone call from an officer stating, “We got the toxicology report back, and the man that killed your daughter had a blood alcohol level of .29, over three times the legal limit”. It wasn’t long after that when I contacted our local MADD office and met Laura Askew. I really didn’t know what I needed or wanted from her or MADD. I met with Laura in person, and she was amazing, so thoughtful, kind, compassionate and understanding. The first thing she told me was this was no accident. He knew what he was doing. He chose to drink and then drive that night, all the way from Tennessee. She was right. Emylee didn’t have a choice or chance due to his very selfish act. This was a 100% preventable crime.
Emylee was our oldest daughter of three. She was an amazing daughter and big sister. She loved her two sisters with all she had in her. She was Alyson’s best friend and Abygale’s second mother and so much more. She was the most caring, kind, beautiful person inside and out. She never knew a stranger and helped anyone that needed help no matter what it was. She had the most amazing throw her head back laugh that always put a smile on your face. She loved the outdoors, fishing, hunting, hiking, and camping. She is loved by so many and is so greatly missed.
It can happen twice:
You never think that something like this can happen to you and your family. Things like this happen to other people, not you. But I am here to tell you, not only did this happen to our Emylee, but 5 months after Emylee died at the hands of a drunk driver it happened again. April 13, 2018, Emylee’s second cousin, Cassidy, was on her way home from work, when a drunk driver hit her head on, killing her instantly too. Emylee and Cassidy were both only 20 years old. They had their futures ahead of them.
Why we walk:
I heard about St. Louis, MO having a walk in honor of victims and was asked if I would want Emylee to be honored at the walk. I was unsure what a Walk Like MADD was. So myself, along with three of my very close friends, decided to go to St. Louis and participate last May 2018. This is when TEAM EMY’S ARMY was formed. Debbie and Meghan and their team did an amazing job. It was sad and wonderful at the same time. I knew then this was something that our community needed. October 20, 2018, was Springfield MO’s first Walk Like MADD. The event was a huge success that raised over $18,800.00 with the help of family, friends and amazing organizations. We do this in honor of our sweet Emylee and so many others that have been affected by drunk drivers. Together, we can stop this unthinkable, preventable crime from happening to other families. You can join this year’s 2nd Annual Walk Like MADD Springfield, MO October 19, 2019.