Victim of DWI accident shakes hands of officers making a differe - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Victim of DWI accident shakes hands of officers making a difference

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

On Friday, fourteen East Texans were awarded for their dedication to putting an end to drunk driving in Smith County.

The award ceremony took place at the Holiday Inn off of South Broadway in Tyler.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving of East Texas handed out five different types of awards: judiciary and prosecutorial service, leadership, DWI education and outstanding service.

At the end of the banquet, Amie Jo Robinson shook the hands of law enforcement officers recognized for their commitment to the fight against drunk driving.

In 2000, Robinson said she and her two-and-half year old daughter were hit by a drunk driver in Gladewater.

"She passed away while I was holding her. My daughter ShiAnn. That wasn't fair, basically. So, if we can stop it then that's a good thing," Robinson said.

Among those officers was Sergeant Blake Lockhart with the Tyler Police Department, awarded by MADD for his leadership in the county.

He said he cannot begin to count how many people he knows who have been affected by drunk driving.

"No, I couldn't even begin to estimate. It's something that's so preventable and that's why we need to work harder to tackle the issue," Sergeant Lockhart explained.

And as law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges work diligently to take unsafe drivers off the streets, these mothers work to get through each day.

For Robinson, part of that healing process was visiting the man who took the life of her little girl.

"I actually visited him last summer in the prison and he, for the first time, he said he was sorry and I forgave him," Robinson said.

With a holiday along with "No Refusal" weekend right around the corner, Sergeant Lockhart wants to remind drivers of one thing.

"The worst thing that can happen if you drink and drive is not that you get a DWI, the worst thing that can happen is not that you kill yourself, the worst thing that can happen is that you kill a family of four and you live," he said.

Several East Texas police departments have declared this July 4th, a "No Refusal" holiday. That means, if you are stopped for drunk driving and refuse to provide a blood sample or breathe sample, an immediate search warrant will be sought and a blood sample will be obtained through that warrant.

For participating departments, "No Refusal" will run through July 6th.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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