Grandmother who lost grandson in drunk driving crash does her part to keep the roads safe

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 7:06 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The message this season as the holidays approach, celebrate responsibly.

It’s a plea from many like Barbara Dartez, who’s grandson died after being hit by a drunk driver.

Dartez said she relives the death of her grandson monthly as she lectures a room full of individuals that are ticketed for drunk driving.

“It’s happening time and time again and I don’t think that people are paying as much attention as they should,” Dartez said.

Dartez’s grandson Ryan lost his life in 2008 on his way to an LSU game when he was hit by a drunk driver.

“He had terrible brain injuries and broken bones. He was in a coma for eight months and died from his injuries,” Dartez said.

After that traumatic experience, Dartez became a part of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) to bring awareness to the consequences one can face if not careful.

“It’s a pain, and a part of you is missing, it’s a pain that never goes away,” Dartez said.

With Thanksgiving marking the beginning of the holiday season, alcohol plays a major role in the festivities, but it is illegal to drink if you plan on driving.

Amber Ashworth, SWLA Regional Transportation Safety Coordinator said statistics show every day about 32 people in the U.S. die in drunk driving crashes. That’s one person every 45 minutes.

“We really need to take these statistics to heart because they are real and it is only human for us to feel that everything is safe until it’s not, until something happens to us, or someone that we love,” Ashworth said.

They hope their efforts will prevent another tragedy and another family losing their loved ones.

Another initiative is the M.A.D.D vigil.

“Everyone will light their candles and come forward to the mic and say who they are lighting a candle for,” Dartez said.

There will be a Mothers Against Drunk Driving vigil on December 1, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The location will be the McNeese Baseball Field (corner of sale and common street).

For additional information, CLICK HERE. The public is invited.