MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Mothers Against Drunk Driving hosted a Walk Like MADD 5K Walk, Dash & Festival Sunday morning at Tropical Park.
The event raised money for Mothers Against Drunk Driving to increase awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and to provide support to victims and survivors. It was also meant to remember the lives taken too soon.
“My son was only 21 years old and had a great future ahead of him,” said walker Pascale Armenteros. “You will never be able to hug them, kiss them, or see what their growth would have been.”
“We’re here in honor of my brother who was killed in September by a drunk driver,” said walker Angelica Green.”So its still very fresh and dear in our hearts.”
A photo board showed victims young and old, from all walks of life, whose lives were cut short by someone impaired behind the wheel.
“I came out here to show my support for Kailee who passed away April 13, two years ago. She’s with us every day and she’ll have our support forever,” said walker Margo Archer.
“For some, it’s a reunion and they gain strength by being together and also by seeing other families who are in different spaces and places in their grieving,” said Janet Mondshine, MADD Executive Director.
Some walkers say there are tougher penalties for lesser crimes. They’d like to see the book thrown at drunk drivers.
“Every year they continue to strengthen the laws and I’m sure this year they’ll look at more ways to improve the drunk driving laws,” said walker Gary Chappell.
One of those who took part in the event was Patty Cohen, the widow of Miami cyclist Aaron Cohen, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2012 on the Rickenbacker Causeway.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto made a $2,000 donation from his district budget to the effort.
“I’m a strong supporter of MADD’s ongoing efforts to make the public aware of how drunk driving destroys lives and families, and I’m committed to helping this worthy organization carry on its great work,” Commissioner Souto said in a statement. “We need to continue working to stop the senseless tragedies caused by irresponsible drunk driving.”
According to MADD, there were 697 drunk driving-related deaths in Florida in 2012, the most recent year for which statistics are available.