Hampton Roads families warn of dangers of drunk driving after being impacted themselves

drunk driving
Posted at 9:13 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-31 00:41:58-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – A mother’s agony and hurt are still fresh several years later.

“It's been almost four and a half years and it's still really hard,” Debbie Leger said as she fought back tears.

May 19, 2017 is a day forever tainted for Leger.

Senior skip day for her daughter Sabrina Mundorff and her best friend Kaitlyn Duffy took a tragic and devastating turn.

A delivery truck driver in Virginia Beach crashed head-on into their SUV, killing Kaitlyn instantly. Leger’s daughter, who was the passenger in the car, survived.

“She's truly a miracle,” said Leger. “She is a senior at Virginia Tech and she’ll graduate in May.”

Police said the truck driver had alcohol and drugs in his system.

“They were hit head-on by a man who was driving a 15,000-pound, fully-loaded delivery truck who had alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and Xanax and his system,” Leger said. “So, he was basically a driving chemical truck.”

The crash left Sabrina with debilitating injuries that she still deals with today

“My daughter suffered very serious injuries, including a traumatic brain injury,” Leger said. “She had a broken pelvis, a seriously broken arm. She was in a coma for over two weeks.”

James Washington’s life was also impacted by a drunk driver

“I was living with my dad at the time in Georgia; we got a phone call saying there was an accident,” said Washington.

The Norfolk community activist said he lost his four-year-old half-brother and his aunt to a crash more than two decades ago.

“Oh man it was devastating,” Washington said. “It was sad to lose somebody that close to you, very close to you.”

On average, more than 10,000 people in the U.S. die every year in alcohol-related crashes.

In Virginia, 272 people died in alcohol-related crashes last year, and numbers increase during the holiday season.

“Twenty eight percent, at any time of the year, 28% of traffic fatalities in this country involve drunk drivers but that figure jumps to 36% over New Year’s and 38% over Christmas,” said Washington Regional Alcohol Program President Kurt Erickson.

As people count down to 2022, both Washington and Leger want them to remember the dangers of drinking and driving.

“Nothing, absolutely nothing is worth the pain that you cause to the families, to the individuals, to people that you affect by drunk driving, to the communities you affect,” said Leger.

Sabrina Mundorff, who’s now 22, can’t ever drive because of her traumatic brain injury from the crash, but she keeps pushing forward. After graduating college, she’s planning on going to med school.

That driver who seriously hurt Sabrina and killed her best friend is serving a 43-year sentence.

Related: 5 teens, 2 OBX restaurant employees facing charges after alcohol-related crash causes serious injuries