Local News

Mom rallies for child killed in Vance County DWI crash

Posted October 23, 2012 7:18 a.m. EDT
Updated October 23, 2012 7:15 p.m. EDT

— A mother planning a rally in memory of her young daughter killed in a crash this summer says she hopes to bring more awareness to drunken driving.

"I look online and I hear other people's stories, and there's just too many people passing away because of this," Jasmine Griffin said Tuesday.

Griffin's 19-month-old daughter, Jaleah, was killed July 20 in a violent, head-on collision.

Authorities charged Ira Evans, of Henderson, with felony death by vehicle, driving while impaired and reckless driving to endanger in connection with the wreck.

Griffin had hoped to rally outside the Vance County courthouse Tuesday, when Evans was expected to appear in District Court. His case, however, was continued until Nov. 19.

She now plans to obtain a permit to demonstrate during the November court date. On a Facebook page dedicated to her daughter's memory, she appeals to friends, family and the public to join her in the rally.

Griffin said Jaleah always put a "pep in her step," so she wants to fight for tougher laws against drunken driving.

"My daughter is the best thing to ever happen to me," Griffin said. "She just changed my life so much. She was just a happy child."

Troopers said Evans was driving a 2007 Dodge Charger on U.S. Highway 1 in Middleburg when he crossed the center line and struck a 1995 Mercedes Benz carrying Jaleah and her father, Derrick Burchette.

Both vehicles ran off the road, and the Mercedes overturned, trapping the toddler in a car seat. She died at a local hospital. Burchette was treated for his injuries and later released.

"I feel like we had our whole life ahead of us," Griffin said. "I was making plans for our future. I never thought it would be cut short like this."