Mothers and families who have lost loved ones to drunk driving gathered for a 5K walk at Liberty Station Saturday in the ongoing fight to prevent deadly DUI crashes.
Tami Riley, who lives in Hawaii, was among the mothers who united for the Walk Like MADD 5K. She lost her son, Lucas Riley, just two months ago to a crash caused by a suspected drunk driver on State Route 67.
“I feel like I didn’t have an option – I had to come out [to this walk],” Tami told NBC 7, fighting back tears. “It’s still very emotional. We’ve all been devastated by this crash. It’s necessary to make it public knowledge. As a family, we want to help the problem [of drunk driving] down here.”
Lucas died in a fiery three-car crash on SR-67 on Aug. 20 when a truck driven by a DUI suspect veered across the road and struck Lucas’ Mini Cooper head-on. The impact set the Mini Cooper on fire.
Riley was a recent graduate of San Diego’s Point Loma Nazarene University – a talented art major whose work is on display at the Cedar Street Parking Garage in Little Italy. He was also engaged to be married, and his fiancée told NBC 7 he was a loving, caring man. After the crash that claimed Lucas’ life, his fiancée begged the public: “Please don’t drink and drive, please.”
As Tami walked the 5K Saturday, she carried a photo of her son and his hat in his memory, with 17 family members and friend by her side. She said she hoped Lucas’ story would help others make the right choice when drinking and thinking about getting behind the wheel.
Another team that took part in the Walk Like MADD 5K Saturday was a team from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) and San Diego County District Attorney’s office, walking in honor of fallen SDSO Deputy Kenneth James Collier.
Collier was killed in the line of duty by a drunk driver on Feb. 28, 2010. His patrol car crashed off the side of State Route 52 while he was trying to stop a drunk driver who was traveling on the wrong side of the freeway.
“We walk in honor of Ken, forever keeping his memory alive, and we walk in honor of all of the law enforcement deputies and officer who risk their lives every day so that we are safer,” a statement from the SDSO read.
To learn more about Walk Like MADD events across the country, click here.