Mother of DUI victim has holiday warning to save lives - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mother of DUI victim has holiday warning to save lives

Barbara Weatherford admits she still cries herself to sleep every night. She mourns the death of her 29-year-old daughter, Deanna Tucker, who was killed by a drunk driver. Barbara Weatherford admits she still cries herself to sleep every night. She mourns the death of her 29-year-old daughter, Deanna Tucker, who was killed by a drunk driver.
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

A drunk driver killed their daughter and narrowly missed killing their young grandson.

That's why former Gulfport Police Chief Alan Weatherford and his wife, Barbara, are so committed to speaking out about the dangers of driving under the influence.

Barbara Weatherford urges everyone to consider the consequences before deciding to drink and drive anytime, but especially during this holiday season.

"Deanna was my best friend.  We did everything together," said the grieving mother.

She was filled with life and love; 29 years old and about to be married. And just moments after coming out of a bridal store with her young son, a drunk driver slammed into Deanna Tucker's car.

"I thank God every day that we didn't lose Landon also. Because had he hit Deanna's car just a few seconds sooner, we would have lost both of 'em. It's hard on him because he saw the whole thing happen. And he talks about hearing his momma scream," said Barbara Weatherford, fighting back tears.

Instead of Deanna visiting the Weatherfords' home, as she did most every day, the family visits the young woman's grave.

"We go to the cemetery all the time. Landon goes to the cemetery. I guess that's our peace, is going to the cemetery. She just loved her family. And that's what we miss most about her, was her love."

Weatherford and her husband are committed to preventing future DUI tragedies. The former chief often speaks to "impact panels" - people arrested for drunk driving.

"I feel very proud of what he does for getting Deanna's message out there, when I see someone come up and thank him for what he does. We can't bring Deanna back, but we can get her message out there," said Barbara Weatherford.

She finds it sad that despite all the warnings, some people still think drinking and driving is acceptable.

"Someone, an adult said one time, 'I don't understand what the big deal is. He just got a DUI.' If that person got a DUI and killed their child, they would understand what the big deal was," she said.

National statistics show there is still a big problem with drunk driving. The number of DUI accidents causing deaths increased more than four percent in 2012. More than 10,000 people in America were killed by drunk drivers last year.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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