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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For the next couple of weeks, countless holiday parties and celebrations will be held across South Florida.
And although we’ve heard it time and time again, one family in particular is making sure that ‘no drinking and driving reminder’ is ‘top of mind.’
It’s a warning the Agreda family says they will never tire of sharing.
Two years and eight months ago, a drunk driver got behind the wheel and ripped their loved one from their lives.
“Don’t let my story be your story,” said Jackie Gonzalez. “Don’t let what happened to my family happen to other families.”
It was April of 2014. Jackie’s 17-year-old sister Caroline Agreda and her friend, Anapaula Saldana were involved in a minor fender bender.
“You never think it’s going to happen to you, but unfortunately it happens and it happens frequently,” said Gonzalez.
The two friends stepped out of their car to inspect the damage and a Good Samaritan, 45-year-old Eduardo Hernandez, pulled over to help the young ladies.
But shortly after, another car being driven by Marine Corps veteran Christopher Masferrer, slammed into them. All three were killed at the scene.
“During the holidays or message is very clear,” said Joe Sanchez with Florida Highway Patrol. “To have people be responsible when they’re out celebrating with their loves ones who are celebrating. Please do not drink in drive.”
Masferrer was sentenced to 15 years in prison and his driving privileges were revoked for the rest of his life.
Caroline’s sister Jackie says, as time goes by, the loss doesn’t get easier; it actually gets worse.
Helen Witty of Mothers Against Drunk Driving can relate. She lost her own daughter to drink driver 16 years ago.
They’re asking people to display a red ribbon as a visual reminder to not get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking.
“Nationally it’s 10,470 were killed,” said Witty. “Florida is one of the leading states in DUI fatalities. Miami leads the state.”
Gonzalez says talking about her sister’s horrific accident is extremely difficult, but if talking about it will help save someone’s life and help a family avoid the pain she has had to go through, she’s gladly do it over and over again.