MADD sends stark reminder to revelers following weekend crashes

Crash on I-10 West near Grosse Tete (Source: WAFB)
Crash on I-10 West near Grosse Tete (Source: WAFB)

(WAFB) - Two people were killed in less than 12 hours in crashes on I-10 near Baton Rouge. Police say in both cases, someone was driving drunk.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is reminding revelers to think of those families faced with the aftermath the next time they have an alcoholic beverage.

It was just after sunrise on Sunday morning when police say a 34-year-old woman from Oklahoma was killed when a man named Kevin Dickens allegedly rear-ended her SUV near Grosse Tete. Both of their vehicles flipped several times and landed in the trees. Eight other people were injured in the crash. Investigators said Dickens was driving recklessly, and they suspect he was impaired.

Just eight hours before, police say there was a similar scene on I-10 in Ascension Parish when Kenneth Lewis was speeding down the interstate and rear-ended a car carrying a couple and their daughter. The 6-year-old was killed in the wreck. Lewis was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide and DWI.

Valerie Cox, program manager for MADD, is often times on the other end of the telephone line when victims call for help.

"I was horrified," Cox said of the two fatal crashes. She said the call volume into the Baton Rouge MADD office increases during holidays, especially Mardi Gras.

"We are you not against you drinking or enjoying the Mardi Gras holiday. We know people are going to go out and have festivals and drink. We just ask that you have a designated plan in place before doing so," Cox said.

Using ride sharing services, such as Uber, Lyft, or even a taxi, Louisiana State Trooper Bryan Lee said, helps to saves lives and keep revelers safe. He said troopers will be looking for those who take risks on the road.

"One drink is too much. Whenever you begin to consume alcohol, it immediately impairs your judgement," Sr. Tpr. Lee said.

MADD's reminder is to prevent drunk driving by planning ahead so you don't have to worry about it later. "This is something we don't have to find a cure for. The cure is here," Cox said.

Police say Dickens, the man suspected in the crash near Grosse Tete, will be charged once he is released from the hospital.

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