Dad backs campaign after daughter's drink-drive death

By a County Press reporter

Published on Monday, December 03, 2012 - 11:49


Dad backs campaign after daughter's drink-drive death

The car driven by a 23-year-old woman killed after she crashed when drink-driving. Her father is backing a Hamphire and Isle of Wight police campaign. Picture courtesy of Hampshire Constabulary.

A FATHER whose daughter was killed when she crashed while drink-driving has backed a campaign to tackle the problem in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight this Christmas.

The man, who did not want to be named, said the night of the death of his 23-year-old daughter last November would haunt him and the rest of his family for the rest of their lives.

She was killed instantly after losing control of her car on the A323, near Fleet, and crashed into a van when she was four times over the drink-drive limit.

In graphic reminder of the dangers of drink-driving, the car she was driving that night is to be displayed in town centres around the region, including on the Isle of Wight this month.

The father said: "My memory of the night I lost my daughter will haunt me and my family for the rest of our lives.

"I remember the police officer at the door asking to come in and for me to sit down. All I could think was if it is bad news surely he should just tell me. When he insisted I sat down I knew the news was going to be life-changing and as everyone knows now, it was.

"To lose someone you love in such a terrible way causes indescribable pain, not least because I had to work out how I was going to tell my children their big sister had died.

"When we later found out that my daughter had been drinking it made that pain so much more agonising — knowing that it was that decision which ultimately ended her life.

"I wanted to tell my story, her story, because I wanted people to see what devastation they can cause by making that choice. It’s a split second decision which can have far-reaching consequences.

"My daughter was a kind-hearted, loving and caring individual who went out of her way to put others first. She made a mistake. One that she paid for with her life and one we’re still reeling from as a family."

Sergeant Jay Hewes, who was at the scene of the crash, said: "It can’t fail to move you.

"This young woman made the wrong choice and it’s a tragedy that a split second decision cost her life and has shattered her family.

"But make no mistake; she was not any different from the hundreds of people we pull over every year who fail a breath test. Her old school mates and work colleagues would tell you she was a sweet, good natured and popular person and her family would say she was a devoted daughter and sister.

"She was not a bad person and that’s not how people will remember her. But it only took one wrong decision to devastate the lives of everyone who loved her."

Her family have worked with the police to create four short films to spread the message.

The films will be released daily for four days from tomorrow (Tuesday) and will chart the response to the fatal crash from the 999 call to the knock at her parents’ door.

Her father said: "It has been just over a year since my daughter lost her life in that car, but the pain is as fresh as if it was the night it happened.

"To anyone else who would consider getting behind the wheel after having alcohol, I plead with you as a father, as the husband of a devastated mother, as the parent of two grieving children and on behalf of the many people who knew and loved my daughter, please don’t.

"You can’t imagine the pain you could leave behind, either for your family or for someone else’s."

Sgt Hewes added: "We don’t ever want to tell another parent, partner or child, that someone they love is gone, but chances are before the year is out, we will have to.

"If one person, regardless of their age, sits up and takes notice, this young person will have left a legacy her parents can take some comfort from and those who knew her can be proud of."

A text number — 80999 — has been set up for people to contact police if they have information about a drink-driver. 999 can also be used to report a drink-driver.


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