WESTMINSTER, Colo. – More than 100 advocates for sober driving gathered Saturday evening, at the annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving Candlelight Vigil. The event was emceed by CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd.
Sadly, each year the event is attended by new families who were impacted by the poor choices of strangers, whom decided to drive impaired.
“It never gets easy, it never goes away. It is just a new normal,” said Melanie Casey, an advocate for sober driving.
Casey’s family was impacted twice by impaired driving. Her brother was hit in 2010 by a drunk driver, who left the scene of the collision. Her brother survived, and the driver was later arrested.
According to Casey, her brother spent more time in rehab, than the driver spent in jail.
Four years later, an impaired driver hit Casey’s daughter’s boyfriend, as well.
“My daughter was with him when he was struck by a drunk driver,” Casey said. “He was killed in 2014. It is very impactful to be at these things.”
Casey encouraged local politicians to support stricter laws, which would punish offenders more severely for their actions. She hoped heavier punishments would encourage others to reconsider driving while impaired.
According to Colorado State Patrol, the roads have become more deadly in the past few years.
“Both in Colorado, and across the country, we are seeing a slow increase in number of DUI and DUID accidents,” said Mike Savage, Colorado State Patrol Deputy Chief.
“The minute (an impaired driver) gets behind the wheel, you risk everybody’s life. It is not fair; it is not fair at all,” Casey said. “It impacts so many people, that you really need to just stop and think, and do the right thing.”
MADD offers a 24-hour Victim Services Support Line: 877-MADD-HELP.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.