Drunk Driver Sentenced, Victim's Family Gets Closure

Arlene Conant was headed to a meeting early in the morning on April 13th, 2000 when a drunk driver swerved into her lane and hit her head on. She was pronounced dead on the scene.

"It was totally unbelievable," said William Conant, Arlene's husband. "I think I was in shock for about two or three days. I just couldn't believe that she was gone."

"It not only devastated our family... my brothers, my sisters, my dad, her grand kids, but also, the lady that hit my mother. (Her) family was really devastated," Valerie Ward said.

The driver, 33-year-old Michele Moran, a mother of two, had a blood alcohol level of .17. On Friday, a judge sentenced her to seven years in prison.

"I feel sorry for her mother and her husband, but I can't feel too much sorrow because I've got sorrow myself for my wife," Conant said.

Arlene Conant is buried in a small cemetery near her home in the quiet Fenton-Dedeaux community. She is remembered as the backbone of this large family and as the friendly manager at the Goodwill store in Bay St. Louis.

"A lot of people know her. They come in there just to talk to her. A lot of the elderly people would come in to see how she's doing, just to get a laugh. She was a happy person. Full of life, full of energy," Ward said.

But the decision by a drunk driver to get behind the wheel changed all of that. That decision changed the lives of two families forever.

Arlene Conant's family decided to share their story for one reason, to let people know what can happen when they decide to drive drunk.