M.A.D.D. parents unite for change after loss - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

M.A.D.D. parents unite for change after loss

Lawton_An 18 year old Cameron student was hit and killed last week by a drunk driver.  The National President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving came to Oklahoma City Thursday to kick off a national campaign.  The "Tie One On for Safety" campaign wants you to tie a red ribbon on your car in a pledge to drive safe, sober and buckled up. 

Freddi Johnson lost her daughter, her son in law and their unborn baby during the holidays five years ago - all because of a drunk driver.  "I've got greedy now," she says.  "I don't want my daughter to be forgotten. And when I come time to meet her, I want to be able to look her square in the eye, and say that I did my best to change the way society looks at drinking, not just drinking and driving, but drinking.  And I want to have my maker to look at me and say 'job well done.'"

Mothers Against Drunk Driving agree - you have the right to drink, and you have the right to drive, but when you combine the two, you're making decisions for other people.  "Our offender, one day he will get out from behind those bars," says Johnson. "Myself and my husband, my boys, we were sentenced to a lifetime sentence - we will never get out from behind our bars." 

It's these decisions that have brought parents together - they say their children were stolen from them.  Glynn Birch is the first "MADD Dad".  He lost his son 20 years ago and says the campaign against drunk driving during the holiday will make a difference - even if we never know it.  The lower the fatality statistics drop, the less likely it is that someone else is forced to tell a story about losing their child. 

Birch lost his two year old son Courtney to a drunk driver and told of his tragic loss.  "They heard the luring song of an ice cream truck in his neighborhood, in his grandmother's neighborhood.  He followed the two older cousins out and before he finished crossing the street, a car was going over 70 miles an hour, barreling through the neighborhood when he was struck.  The car drug his body a 150 feet.  The driver - 3 prior convictions, blood alcohol of .26, which is three times the legal limit, was driving on a revoked license."

"Just briefly for a moment, close your eyes, and just imagine your holiday table with an empty chair, of a family member who is no longer there this holiday, no longer there at any future holidays, for the rest of your life," says Birch.  And, they say all it takes is one phone call.  "Call a cab, call a friend, call your mom and dad," he says.  "I'm sure that they would, no matter what time," says Johnson.  "They'd get up and they would come and get you because that's better than getting that knock on the door or that phone call in the middle of the night from the police."

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