Community remembers victims killed in DUI crashes

By Nikki Gaskins

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) Recent statistics show nearly 30 people are killed every day in drunk driving crashes across the U.S.

On Tuesday, one Lowcountry organization held a candlelight vigil to remember those lives lost. This is the 24th year that the Berkeley County Prevention Board has sponsored the event.

Members hope it will urge people to think twice before drinking and driving.

More than a hundred people attended the service at the Moncks Corner AME Church, holding candles to symbolize the many lives lost at the hands of a drunken driver.

"I light this candle to honor my father," said one guest in attendance whose father, Christian Robinson, was hit and killed by a drunken driver while riding his motorcycle several years ago.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, there were 358 alcohol-related traffic deaths in South Carolina last year.

"Here in Berkeley County this year, we already had 26 traffic fatalities, and more than half of those were alcohol related," said Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury.

During the service, a daughter also spoke of the abrupt loss of her father to drunk driving.

"We have to get up every day and know the fact that we only have one parent. We no longer have two," she said.

For one Lowcountry mom, the service was especially sentimental. Her 3-year-old daughter was killed several years ago by a drunken driver less than a mile from their home.

"His blood alcohol content was .16, which is twice the legal limit," said Kelly DeHay.

After her daughter's death in 2007, DeHay helped establish a MADD chapter for the Charleston area.

"Nobody understands the pain until it happens to you," she said.

Through Tuesday's service, she hopes it sends a strong message against drinking and driving.

"First and foremost, never say that DUI is an accident. It is a choice," said Dehay. "Just don't put yourself in the position to be that guy that hit us."

For those who notice a driver who appears to be under the influence, you're asked to contact the South Carolina Highway Patrol at *HP on your cellphone.