Drunk-driving victim's family urges people to be safe this New Y

Drunk-driving victim's family urges people to be safe this New Year's

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LUBBOCK COUNTY, Texas -

"There were a lot of people who counted on her, every single day. And one day that was just ripped out of our lives," Lucinda Holt said.

Holt knows the pain of losing a loved one to a drunk driver all too well.

Her sister, Lydia Mendez, died in February 2003 after she was hit by a drunk-driver off of Highway 84.

At the time she was teaching her teen daughter how to drive.

 

Today, A 2 mile stretch of FM road 835 is now named in her honor through the Adopt-A-Highway program.

"No matter what we do, what we say, people continue to do this. And, you know, alcohol-related impaired driving deaths, those are 100 percent preventable," Holt said.

4 times a year the family gathers to clean up the side of the road. 

For them it is a reminder of how much they lost, when one person made a bad choice. 

"Lydia had the nickname "Ya-Ya", because when I was a toddler I couldn't say "Lydia" so the "Y-A" just stuck with me. So, when you go out there, on New Year's Eve, I want you to know you could be taking someone's "Ya-Ya" away. " Lucinda said.

 

A photo of Lydia Mendez

 


"It helps remind me, every time, of the dangers. It's very easy to forget how real the situation is, if you're not faced with it every day," Lucinda's husband Charles Holt said. "While it is a tragic situation, in a way, I consider myself lucky to have this reminder, to have our family be a symbol for others, and we can tell others that this is real, and people do die," Holt added.


Drunk driving kills more than 10-thousand Americans each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

New Year's is notorious for drunk drivers.

"It's too easy to avoid taking someone's life," Charles Holt said. 

Mendez's family says there are no exceptions to driving drunk nowadays.


In the last decade, Ted Liggett, a personal injury attorney, has seen several drunk-driving wrecks in his 2-decades of experience.

His law firm has offered free rides home on holidays for the last 10 years. 

This New Year's is no exception.

"We just thought that, we keep running into these situations where folks are getting in trouble from getting behind the wheel, and goodness gracious if you had an opportunity to call somebody to come pick you up," Liggett said. 

To call for a free safe ride, the number is (806) 744-4878.

The service is only for one-way trips back home. 

Ride share services like Uber and Lyft are also offering deals for first-time riders. 

AAA Texas is  offering the "Tow-to-go" program beginning Dec. 31 at 6 P.M. to January 1 at 6 A.M.

Drivers can call AAA at (800) 222-4357 or (800)-AAA-HELP for a free tow home, up to ten miles.

 

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