With the holiday season upon us, I would like share a few thoughts.

Our beautiful daughter, Jennifer, was killed by an impaired driver who had been celebrating the holiday season. She was 21. We had all of her presents bought and wrapped and the tree decorated — as she was our only child, the holidays were totally about her. To say we were devastated could not be more of an understatement.

We do not celebrate the holidays anymore; instead, this is a time of year we dread. Our lives were forever changed. A beautiful young woman lost any chance for a future, a husband, children. It is impossible to comprehend our loss. Sadly, I have met many, many other parents and relatives who have gone through the same thing.

These deaths and terrible, permanent injuries are even more horrible because each and every one was totally preventable. For every person who dies or is injured, some other person makes the choice to drink and drive.

Please do not think that I advocate not drinking; that is not the case. What I advocate is having a plan for getting home after you have enjoyed yourself this holiday season. Just as you would pick your jewelry, your tie, your clothing, pick your ride home. Have in place a plan B, C or D. Before you go out, make sure you have a designated driver, money for a cab, the ability to stay the night in a hotel, or at the place you are partying. A hearse, an ambulance or the back seat of a police car do not make for an enjoyable holiday experience, only a horrific one for those killed or injured. And keep in mind that it could be you in that hearse or ambulance.

The Edmonton Police Service, RCMP and Edmonton Taxi Service Group are all putting the MADD red ribbons on their vehicles this season to remind and encourage people to make wise transportation choices. During the month of December, you will have seen billboards and signage reminding people to make the safe choice and have an alternative way home.

Please, please remember that my daughter and many others died at this time of year for no other reason than that there was no plan in place for a safe ride home. Don’t take the risk that you will kill someone, or be killed yourself. Enjoy yourself thoroughly, but do it in a thoroughly responsible way.

Lynda and Mark McCullough of Sherwood Park lost their daughter Dec. 10, 2003. The driver, originally charged with impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death, pleaded guilty only to the latter and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Source: Edmonton Journal


Last updated on: 2014-12-23 | Link to this post