TYLER, Texas (KETK) – We have reported on a series of drunk driving-related accidents across East Texas in the previous weeks. In the past twelve days, there have been three accidents related to driving under the influence, all of them claiming the life of at least one person.
On Jan. 12, an accident on Highway 31 in Smith County killed 22-year-old Jace Taylor. He and his friends were working to push their stalled truck off the road, when they were struck by a drunk driver. Taylor was dead at the scene, and three others were injured.
Just one day later, a mother was hit by an intoxicated driver in Gregg County. Unfortunately, this took the life of a 2-year-old child and 5-month-old baby.
“They just don’t understand why this person would make the decision that they made,” says Kathy Davidson, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Shortly after, Tyler Legacy student Lilly Thornburgh was in a similar accident that left her fighting for her life. Her parents took her off of life support just two days before her 18th birthday.
“It’s not a risk worth taking, cause young lives are lost,” Davidson adds.
AAA Texas says that these accidents are 100% avoidable, however they are seeing it happen more often.
“We’ve seen an increase, especially during the pandemic, we’ve seen an increase in overall risky driving behavior. That includes alcohol, and it’s an alarming trend that we are seeing,” says Daniel Armbruster with AAA Texas.
MAAD works with the families of victims and hopes to educate everyone about how to avoid these situations.
“If you’re planning to go out, you’ve probably already thought about who you’re going out with and what you’re gonna wear, but at the same time if you’re planning on drinking, you need to plan for a way home,” Davidson explains.
Another thing they want to stress is having these conversations about drinking and driving before it’s too late. They encourage parents to talk with their children about why they should wait until they are of legal drinking age, and how their decisions can have permanent consequences on their lives and the people around them.