A South Florida mother who has become a crusader against drunk and drugged driving since her daughter was killed by an impaired driver has a message for everyone this holiday season as drunk driving fatalities have spiked over the last few years.
Over 18 years ago, Helen Witty's 16-year-old daughter, Helen Marie, was struck and killed by a driver who was drunk and high on marijuana as she was rollerblading near her Pinecrest home.
“No one ever expects sudden violent death of a child, and with this crime, that’s what happens," Witty said.
Over the years, Witty and her husband John have turned these emotions into activism. Witty was just named the national president for MADD, or Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
This holiday season, Witty is using her voice more than ever as the numbers on drunk driving fatalities have increased by 35 percent in the past five years.
“Too many people are dying. We lose almost 11,000 every year," Witty said. "The trend was going down, it was around 10,000, but in the last two years, it’s stacked back up again to 11,000. Drunk driving is the No. 1 killer on our roadways. So we need to change that. It’s preventable.”
Witty is hoping her message to drivers is loud and clear: If you drink, don't drive, and if you drive, don't drink.