Taking A Stand Against Drunk Driving

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY (WLOX) - October 6, 2007, is a day the Downs family will never forget. It's the day the Down's son, Bradley, his new bride Samantha and close family friend Chris DaFoe were all killed by a drunk driver. All three were under the age of 25.

"Tonight (Saturday night) around 8:50 p.m. my nightmare is relived again. They were killed on a Saturday night at 8:52, so at 8:52, my nightmare starts over again," says Will Downs of Saucier.

But, on the one year anniversary of this tragic loss, the family and supporters turned their grief into a call for action. They held up signs bearing pictures and messages taking a stand against drunk driving.

They stood along Highway 53 where the three died next to a sobriety check point overseen by the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

"I'm taking a stand against drunk driving.  I'm going to do my part and try to alert the public," says Downs.

"Nationwide, every year on average we loose over 13-thousand people to drunk driving, and it is a serious issue," says Corporal Johnnie Poulus with the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

"Our campaign to eliminate drunk driving is aggressive, and on the coast, you'll be seeing more of these sorts of activities," says MADD State Executive Director Tricia Raymond.

"It's time to stand up and prevent another family member, another father and another mother from experiencing the tragic loss that we have. That's why I'm here today," says Downs.

The drunk driver responsible for the accident was also killed. The passenger of the car was ejected and is now permanently injured.  Bill Downs now works as a victims advocate volunteer for the MADD chapter representing Harrison, Stone and Hancock Counties.