CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Thanksgiving can be filled with fond memories of turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes and sometimes alcohol.
For some families, Thanksgiving brings memories of people who aren’t sitting at the table anymore. Some of those people were killed due to a drunk driver.
Ana Verley is a victim services specialist for Mothers Against Drunk Driving and is one of those that lost members of her extended family at the hands of a drunk driver. She’s been with MADD for almost 20 years now.
“He was given a bond. He bonded out and he fled so that family didn’t have any kind of justice for many many years,” Verley said when talking about the drunk driver.
Verley said it took almost 18 years for the legal system to take on the case because the driver had driven off.
Verley said you never know what just one drink could do to you and said it’s MADD’s mission to support police in pulling people over.
“You don’t know how alcohol is going to impact you. You don’t know how, your frame of mind, if you’ve eaten, if you’re sleepy, if you’ve taken medication,” she said.
According to TxDOT, the age group with the most amount of DUIs that cause a fatality are people ages 26 to 30, making up about 20 percent of the cases. TxDOT’s website says one in four fatal crashes during the holidays is due to a drunk driver.
However, many people choose to take a taxi instead of risk the ride behind the wheel while drunk.
Christina Fricks is the owner of Above and Beyond Taxi Service and said the holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Years Eve are popular times when she gets the most business. She said she gets more customers during the day than at night on holidays.
“They don’t want to drink and drive and they appreciate me going and picking them and making sure they get home safely. That’s what I’m here for. To serve the community,” Fricks said.
Her son, Juan Devora, also helps with the family business and said they are compassionate towards drivers who are intoxicated or just need a lift. He said it’s a business that allows him to see people from all walks of life.
“Don’t drink and drive because I would rather you pay twenty dollars for a cab fair than pay ten thousand dollars in lawyer fees and court fees,” Devora said.