MADD opens community site in Iowa

By Jason Belk - bio | email

IOWA, LA (KPLC) - Fonda Hayden and Saundra Fournet both tragically lost their sons at the hands of a drunk driver, but their stories only partially reveals the pain tragically felt by so many mothers in Southwest Louisiana.

"Back on Valentine's day, it was a year ago, this past Valentine's Day, my son was crossing the road in front of OB's Deli.  He was hit by a drunk driver, he lived three hours," said Hayden.

"My son was going to LSU, graduated from Barbe in 1995, and was going to school at LSU. He was out one evening and a 19 year old drunk driver hit him head-on," said Fournet.

Their stories are one of the reasons why MADD has made it their mission to stop drunk driving and support anyone who has ever been impacted by the crime.

Those involved with MADD cannot stress enough how important it is to understand that when you get behind the wheel of a car while impaired, you're not only putting your life in danger, but you're putting everyone else on the road in danger too.

"It is your personal choice to consume alcohol, but when you make that decision to get behind the wheel, you're creating a public safety hazard because anybody else on the road with you can be impacted by what you do when you're behind the wheel," said Donna Tate, the State Director of MADD.

Today, MADD opened a new community site for Southwest Louisiana in hopes of increasing their presence and deterring drunk drivers in the area.

Something Calcasieu Parish District Attorney, John DeRosier is also trying to pursue, by pushing a bill that would bring a harsher mandatory sentence for 3rd and 4th DWI offenses.

"Relative to impaired driving, what it's going to take to break the cycle is the hammer, that criminal sanction hanging over someone's head.  Knowing that if you get another DWI, the punishment and the penalty is going to be more severe," said DeRosier.

A more severe penalty that will hopefully prevent a mother from experiencing what Fonda and Saundra already have.

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