Scared Sober: The Truth of Drunk Driving

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November 20, 2012 - Thousands of people drive drunk every year in America.

And some of them will be responsible for forever changing the lives of families.

WCTV took a closer look at the consequences of those actions, and the people left behind.

Candace Butler, Mother of Drunk Driving Victim, stated, "I can't let him just die in vain. I can't just you know keep on moving, the sun keep setting and rising every day and forget how this happened. And it can be, this is avoidable, this is an avoidable situation."

Candace lost her boy on January 28th last year 2011 at 7:02pm. She was driving on North Monroe Street in Tallahassee when a drunk driver plowed into her at a stop light.

Candace Butler: "by the time the ambulance got there Cammeren had already stopped breathing. I knew that he had passed in my hands. You know they kept telling me they're working on him. But a mother knows. I knew, I knew I knew he took his last breath in my hands."

Dozens of families like Candace's have been changed forever in North Florida and South Georgia; their stories show how consequences of driving drunk go far beyond a DUI arrest.

James Russell, FSU Police Department, stated, "certainly if they end up killing somebody that's DUI manslaughter. And they are a convicted felon. And then they go to prison with all the other people. And they thought, you know they wouldn't be that type of criminal but if they are someone who has killed somebody then they're going to go into prison with all the other murders and rapists and everybody else and that will be what defines their life."

One of those felons is Mauricio Gomez who took the life of 21-year old FSU student Matthew Beard. Gomez crashed into Beard just four days before Christmas in 2006.

Connie Russell, Mother of Drunk Driving Victim, stated, "On Christmas day I prayed for a miracle and I got no Christmas miracle. Instead my son got worse. And on December twenty ninth at twelve thirty three AM I watched my child die."

Gomez was driving about 90 miles an hour when he crashed into Beard.

Gomez was sentenced to twelve years for taking Beard's life.

James Russell, FSU Police Department, stated, "Law enforcement officers are a deterrent, they help some. But it really comes to attitude changes and protecting each other. And saying to one another it's not okay to drink and drive. If you have a friend that looks like they're about to drive take the keys away from them. Offer to drive them or before you go out to party or go out to an establishment have a plan to begin with it's very simple. But that's where the changes are going to be made is on a personal level and people taking care of people."

Connie Russell met Major Russell at a candlelight vigil for her son. After a long friendship they fell in love and are now married.

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