Midlands victims killed in drunk-driving crashes remembered Saturday

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) –

It’s a tough subject to talk about for some people however the room was full of bravery during today’s *Mothers Against Drunk Driving* candlelight vigil on Saturday.

331 people lost their lives to drunk-driving accidents in South Carolina last year and many of those victims’ families were honored at Saturday’s event.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened,” one victim said at the candlelight vigil.

One by one, victims of drunk-driving crashes were remembered as family members and loved ones put heart-shaped ornaments on a tree.

“This is my safe place because this is where I get to remember my son,” Colleen Sheehey-Church said to a room full of people who share the same loss.

Valerie Rhodes’ brother said Valerie never made it to work that February morning in 2015 before she was hit and killed by a drunk driver.

“It was the worst day of my life,” he said. “Took someone special from me.”

The national president of MADD, Sheehey-Church, also experienced an unimaginable loss when she lost her son.

“I asked the medical doctor as a mom, did he crack his neck? Did he hit his head? Do you know what happened? He lowered his head and said no ma’am, your son drowned. So I know he was alive in that vehicle struggling to get out of that car,” Sheehey-Church said.

According to MADD, South Carolina ranks among the worst in the nation when it comes to deaths related to drunk driving. 331 people were killed in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2016 in South Carolina.

Many of those victims attended a candlelight vigil to remember their mothers and sisters and children.

Each and every one of them has a heartbreaking story to tell.

MADD statistics state that there are 28 deaths every day, which means one death every 51 minutes related to drunk or drugged driving in the United States.

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