Columbus drunk driving victims remembered at MADD candle vigil

Columbus drunk driving victims remembered at MADD candle vigil

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - People who know all too well about the dangers of drunk driving lit candles in honor of their loved ones Thursday night at the Columbus Government Center. 

"Alcohol is not that important, drugs ain't that important and if you need help or if you have gone through something in your past that leads you to drinking than you need to get help," says Cassandra Kitchens.

Less than a year ago, Kitchens buried her 7-year-old son after he was killed by a drunk driver.

"She hit us, come to find out she was drinking and on drugs, she stole the car naked and my son died on impact," says Kitchens.

Cassandra's son Ayden was one of several victims of drunk driving honored at Thursday's candle vigil held by Mother's Against Drunk Driving.

Sharlenor Whatley, victim service specialist for MADD's state office, hopes this event shows the damaging effects of drunk driving and sparks a much-needed change in our community.

"We're trying to help prevent underage drinking and also to stop drunk driving," says Whatley.

According to MADD, despite a nearly 50 percent decline in drunk driving deaths since the organization was founded in 1980, more than 10,000 people are killed by drunk drivers each year and another 290,000 are injured.

"If we can stop somebody from drinking and driving in anyway then that's a life saved because nobody ever knows when a life will be took.I never thought my 7-year-old would die," says Kitchens.

The woman accused of killing Ayden is currently in prison and waiting on trial. 

Kitchens says as a result she was diagnosed with PTSD and depression.

She's not letting that hold her back from continuing to help others.

In fact, she says she plans to be apart of the first Columbus chapter of MADD when it launches Jan 2017.

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