CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — “You go into a state of shock….like it’s not real,” Jennifer Kindred expressed when talking about the deaths of her mother and niece.
They died due to a drunk driver that hit them in 2017. He had drank way past the legal limit. Kindred said the bar he went to had over served him.
The feeling of not being able to say goodbye to her family still stays with her four years later. Now, Kindred is a fierce advocate not just against drunk driving, but against bars serving too much alcohol to someone that is already drunk and might take to the wheel.
“You don’t get to go see them at their proms or you know, you don’t get to have all those memories that you shared. Growing up, these are the people that know you your whole life inside and out and it’s like somebody just erased my life,” she said.
At bars like The Exchange in Corpus Christi, employees said they actively look out for people who had too much to drink.
“We keep track of their drinks of course. If they’re drinking too much we cut them off. If they come in the bar drunk already, we’ll try and offer them something less of a cocktail, maybe a beer, some water, coffee,” Logan said, an employee at The Exchange.
He said they also serve food until midnight, something that could help people sober up before they take to the streets, hopefully not in a car. He said they also offer them a taxi or car from a ride share service.
This weekend, Apollo Towing Service is just one of the services you can call if you’ve had too much to drink. They are offering free tows to people in the Corpus Christi, Robstown, Port Aransas, and Portland areas. You must show proof that you live in those areas, have a functioning vehicle, and have your car keys. They will only tow you to your residence, not another bar or party. This will be offered throughout the weekend until Sunday at 6 p.m.
They have been offering this service since 2010 and said they have towed about 421 people, last year towing 34.
“We come across a lot of grave and ugly situations and we are all too often reminded of how precious life is when we pull up on an accident scene and two cars are mangled and then you find out that one or two of the operators of those vehicles did not survive” Michael Staff, their general manager said.
TxDOT said last year almost 1,000 people died from DUI incidents and about 2,000 people were severely injured. In order to bring those statistics down and hopefully eradicate them, Staff said they will have about nine trucks on-hand throughout the weekend and they will get to people in the order they receive the call.
“If someone gets arrested for drunk driving during this program, the prosecutor can ask ‘did you call a taxi, did you call a ride service, did you call a towing service? All these different services are offering free rides during this time. Why did you make the choice that you made’?” Staff said.
Services like the one Apollo Towing is offering is what Kindred wishes was offered to the driver that killed her family members.
“You can’t just ignore the fact that we all have a hand in drunk driving. We all have to do our due diligence and care enough to take the keys or do whatever you have to do for that person so that somebody else’s life isn’t taken,” Kindred said.