By Michael Abeyta
ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Phoebe Lester was a Grandview High School student who loved to give back to her community and loved to help people.
“She, every day, was helpful to someone. She has done things in her own school that helped under privileged children. It was noticeable,” said Phoebe’s mother Pam Lester.
On July 25, 2017, when she was 16 years old, her life was cut short by a drunk driver.
Christopher Tetley, 25, was driving drunk at a rate of 75 mph on Orchard Road in Arapahoe county where the posted speed limit is 40 mph. He also had been drinking and was almost two and a half times above the legal limit.
When he got to the intersection of Orchard and South Genoa Street, he slammed into a car with Phoebe, her boyfriend and one their friends inside as they tried to make a left hand turn.
The memory of that crash is still painful and at the forefront of Pam’s mind. She calls the experience devastating, “It’s difficult to move forward. Every day is a struggle.”
“One year ago today I stood in front of a church with over one thousand people there for her funeral and it most definitely was the most horrific feeling in the world for a parent to have to experience.”
At the sentencing for Tetley Thursday in Arapahoe County, a judge heard emotional statements from the victims and their families as well as from Tetley himself who expressed great remorse for his actions and asked for forgiveness.
Tetley was ultimately sentenced to 11 years in prison and 5 years of probation after pleading guilty to felony DUI charges, including one count of vehicular homicide for the death of Phoebe Lester.
Pam feels that no matter the sentence, justice will never truly be served because she can’t bring her daughter back. She says her life will never be the same, but she wants her daughter’s life to continue to make an impact.
Pam has started the Phoebe Brook Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on helping make the world a better, happier place. She hopes that like her daughter, people will talk to each other about the things they struggle with like alcoholism. She hopes that something like this never happens again.
“I think that when other people are involved in their lives, which is why I created the Phoebe Brook Foundation, that it will help them see the light.”
LINK: Phoebe Brook Foundation