Lowcountry officials, community members gather to honor lives lost to drunk drivers

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MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCBD) – Friends, family and loved ones gathered for the 32nd annual candlelight vigil hosted by the Berkeley County Prevention Center, to remember those killed or affected by drunk or drugged drivers.

Alana Long, a survivor of a drunk driving accident spoke at the memorial. Long says she was hit head on by a drunk driver on Johns Island back in May of 2020. She was in the car with her family and was pregnant at the time, when she lost her unborn son Travis from the impact.

“I remember every single detail of my car accident. I remember what the car looked like coming at me and especially the sound it made when it hit me,” Long says.

Long is one of hundreds of mothers across the state, remembering their sons or daughters killed by drunk driver.

“My son Travis gave his life to protect his mother. I know he has given me the purpose to be here to impact other people’s lives and he truly made me my strongest self,” Long says.

Berkeley County Coroner George Oliver says so far this year there have been 11 fatalities in Berkeley county.

“We just relate to this cause. We feel like we need to be apart of it on the prevention side, as well as is what we require to do once there’s a fatality,” says Oliver.

Across the state more than 22,000 DUI arrests were made on South Carolina roadways in 2020. Troopers say it is important for drivers to think before getting behind the wheel after a drink.

“You are going to be the ones to change people’s minds and making them to make the right decision. If it can happen to me it can happen to anyone,” says Lance Corporal Trooper Nick Pye, with the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Long says now, she just wants to make her pain into purpose.

“I just hope that my words and my experience can make it so that somebody doesn’t make those decisions. I hope they can keep themselves safe and from a bad decision that can destroy a family,” says Long.

So far this year, there has been more than 1,000 fatalities on roadways across the state and officials say many of those deaths are caused from drunk driving.

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