On New Year's Eve, East Texans will be celebrating the coming of a new year, and for some, that's with alcohol. Every year around this time, we are reminded of the dangers of drinking and driving. Yet, almost 1500 people in the state of Texas alone died from alcohol-related accidents last year. KLTV 7's Tracy Watler shows us, not statistics, but a face, a family that 13 years later, is still hurting.
Crosses at intersections, on the side of the road we all see them but sometimes, we forget, they're there for a reason--most of them, to memorialize a loved one killed by a drunk driver and to remind us the ultimate consequence drinking and driving can have.
"I remember her taking me to Chuck E. Cheese's," says Eric Locklear-Ratley. "I see all these moms and I wish I could have one. She was the best mother anybody could have.
Eric hand-made a cross and placed at the intersection of Bill Owens and Hawkins Parkway in Longview, just a week ago. Now 18 years old, he was only five when his mom went out to buy more Christmas lights to decorate their tree and never came home.
"Christmas time is hard for me because my mom went to go get the lights and that's when she died," he says.
It was a split-second that changed his life and the lives of his entire family, including his Grandma, who had to raise him
"He is the only thing, the only part of her I've got left," Anita Hancock says.
A face to remind us that one night, one decision, can take one life but destroy so many others.
"When you lose a child to a senseless drunk driver, you lose a child that is the worst thing that could ever, ever happen to you," she explains.