Bill Downs is a man on a mission

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - By Doug Walker – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - On October 6th of 2007 at 8:50 pm, Bill Downs was talking by cell phone with Chris DaFoe, a young man who had moved in with the Downs' a year earlier.

Two minutes later, DaFoe was dead, along with Downs' son Brad and his daughter-in-law, Samantha. The car they were is was mangled when struck by a drunk driver who was on the wrong side of the road. Downs believes this was no accident.

"Too many people are dying or being injured by drunk driving, and drunk driving is a conscious choice; it's not a mistake."

Three young lives snuffed out in an instant. Through his work with MADD, Downs is able to cope.

"It was my way of getting therapy, to release that anger, not to be angry about what happened but to make something negative a positive," Downs said. "So I've made it my personal mission here on the coast to be a representative of MADD, so I can reach out to other victims."

Despite the almost three years since that terrible accident that took the lives of his loved ones, Bill Downs said the pain never goes away for him or especially for his wife.

"We have been to this crash site several times. She will not get out of the car. She can't get out of the car. Her emotions will not allow her to get out of the car."

And when he goes to Washington, Downs will be carrying a powerful message.

"We'll actually meet with legislators on Capitol Hill to discuss the issues of the ignition interlock law and to rally for more stricter laws about drunk driving."

Downs hopes these new laws will save lives in the future. He leaves for the nation's capital next week and will spend four days lobbying lawmakers for tougher DUI laws.

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