Don't drink and drive message resonates for victim's family - - Jackson, MS

Don't drink and drive message resonates for victim's family

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippi law enforcement is gearing up for this year's "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign. 

Drinking and driving crashes increase during the holidays every year.

Officials quoted statistics at Tuesday's press conference. 49 people were killed in traffic accidents last December in Mississippi.

More than 30 percent of those were alcohol related. 

But it's the faces that go along with those numbers that have the lasting impact.

"During the first year things become magnified," noted Elbert Rich, Sr. "Father's Day, I didn't get a call from him. His birthday, I didn't have an opportunity to hug him and love on him and let him know that Granddaddy loves him."

Belhaven College football player Trey Rich was riding his bike home from work last Christmas Eve when he was hit and killed by a drunk driver.

"Last year this time we could still talk to him," explained Rich's mother Cecelia Rich. "This was nine days before the accident occurred and he lost his life."

Reginald Davis was the driver who admitted to drinking that night. He was sentenced in November to serve 25 years.

"When Trey was killed, it didn't just change my family's life," described Elbert Rich, Sr. "The driver has a family. They care about him. Soon change their lives too. So now he has to sit down in a jail cell somewhere and his family misses him just like we miss Trey."

You've been warned before not to drink and drive. 

"The cab is a lot cheaper than the attorney you pay if you're arrested for drinking and driving," said Mississippi Department of Public Safety Deputy Commissioner Col. Donnell Berry.

And the price could involve a life.

It's stories like Trey Rich's that put a face to the reasons, not just numbers. His friends and teammates say don't drink and drive is more than a slogan now.

"I know that he is looking down and he is honored today to know that his life was not in vain," added Cecelia Rich.

The enforcement period for Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over starts Friday and runs through January 3.

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