BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for one Gonzales family, the holiday season is a reminder of one of the darkest moments of their lives. It has been a year to the day since their loved one, Caleb Loots, was killed by an alleged drunk driver.
“Losing a child, man, it’s not anything anyone ever even wants to imagine,” said Loots’ stepfather, Ron Alexander.
Alexander still remembers the night his stepson was hit on Highway 44 in Gonzales near I-10. A picture from the scene shows the impact after the 18-year-old was run over while on his motorcycle. Alexander says coming back to the spot where it happened just brings everything flooding back, especially during the holidays.
“It’s certainly hard when you have your baby’s gifts wrapped up and you got to throw the gifts away or unwrap them,” said Alexander. “The holidays just make it harder for sure.”
Police say Ashley Seibers was under the influence at the time of the crash, telling WAFB her blood alcohol level was .09%. After U.S. marshals were called in to find her, WAFB’s cameras were there the day she turned herself in.
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While Seibers is answering for the crime now, Loots’ family is turning the unspeakable pain into a purpose, hoping to prevent others from getting behind the wheel after drinking.
“So nobody else has to go through this,” said Kelsey Loots. “It’s painful and we want to definitely raise awareness for people.”
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) joined them Monday, Dec. 9 as they lit candles in Loots’ memory and put up a new cross to honor his life. While their tears still flow, the family takes comfort in the wonderful life he lived and the many people he touched.
“He was a kindhearted soul and that’s what we want to remember him by,” said Alexander.
“One of his friends said that Caleb was a once in a lifetime friend and to a lot of people, he was,” his mother, Tashia Welton, said.
They just hope his death will serve as a reminder for others to not drink and drive this holiday season.