Every time these drivers get behind the wheel, they take a chance, and for Veronica Wilson that one mistake a driver made, took her daughters life. Following her death, over a year ago, Wilson now volunteers with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. As a part of her service she speaks at a Victim Impact Panel to a gathered group of people arrested for DWI's.
"They got lucky this time," she says of the gathered group, "but next time somebody's not going to be lucky."
Wilson will never forget the moment when she heard the news that her 16-year-old daughter died as a result of someone drinking and driving. "They were very sorry to have to inform me that she had been killed in an accident at 4:30 that morning. I told them 'No, that couldn't possibly be right.'"
In that moment, she says it became very real to her. "I was so shocked that it just hit me like a ton of bricks, and I just remember falling to my knees and begging God for it not to be true. I was thinking 'Take me God, anything but her.'"
Here in Abilene, there has been a dangerous trend of people driving while intoxicated. In 2008, Abilene PD says there were 585 drunk driving incidents, up from the 441 in 2007.
"We did have still a rather bloody year from drunk driving accidents," says Sgt. Doug Wrenn of the Abilene Police, and Wrenn knows that the job is not over. "We certainly realize that there are a lot of drunk drivers on the road at any one time."
Since 2005, the numbers are improving, but that's not enough to replace what Wilson lost. She just hopes because of her daughter's story that someone somewhere will make the right decision in the future. "I just want everyone to know that there's consequences and results to everything we do."
If you would like to attend the Victim Impact Panel, they meet every other month at McMurry. For more information, contact Shielah Baggett, the local MADD Volunteer, at 806-7903-6233 or go to www.madd.org.