Local News

Families 'Walk Like M.A.D.D.' to fight impaired driving

Posted April 9, 2011 3:02 p.m. EDT
Updated April 9, 2011 11:18 p.m. EDT

— Relatives of drunken driving victims joined hundreds in a 5K walk Saturday to raise awareness of how impaired driving wrecks lives.

"We don't need a cure for drinking and driving. There's already a cure: Just don't do it," said Lisa Whitley, whose 22-year-old daughter, Nikki, was killed in Wilson last June by a driver who had been drinking and doing cocaine.

"No other family should go through what we've been through," Whitley added.

Zebbra Kriger said she hadn't been too concerned about impaired driving until her niece, 25-year-old Amie Sullivan, was killed in the same collision as Nikki Whitley.

"I never really paid any attention until it happened to us," Kriger said.

That motivated the grieving mother and aunt to join the "Walk like M.A.D.D." on North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus Saturday. The walk is the major annual fundraiser for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

"People should open their eyes and say, 'You know, we don't need to lose another person to something so senseless,'" Whitley said.

The families of Amie Sullivan and Nikki Whitley have expressed outrage over what they considered to be weak laws to deter drunken driving.

Jimmy Vincent Coleman, who pleaded guilty to killing the two women, will spend 12 to 16 years in prison, but their relatives have said that stiff sentence came too late.

Coleman had a revoked driver's license and a 2008 DWI conviction. He had been given six speeding tickets since 2002 but been allowed to plea down each one of those tickets.

"All the policemen and Highway Patrol are getting them off the streets, and then (they're) going to the courtroom and (being) put right back out on the streets," Kriger said.

Walking with others at N.C. State Saturday was both comforting and opened their eyes to the extent of the consequences of impaired driving, relatives said.

"I just realize there are so many people going through what we're going through," Whitley said.