MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Gary Catronio has been making the pitch for years, Tuesday it was to 11-to-13 year old’s at Ramblewood Middle School in Coral Springs.
“It’s coming up on 6 years this November,” he said.
It’s been nearly 6 years since a driver, drunk and headed the wrong way on the Sawgrass Expressway hit and killed his daughter Marisa Catronio and her best friend Kaitlyn Ferrante, both just 21-years-old.
“This is a pain, no family or father has to endure,” said Catronio.
Catronio’s message is driven by his loss, he takes his campaign, Marisa’s way into schools, City gathering and wherever people will listen to share the reality, the extremely painful reality of what happens when others make the decision to drink and drive.
“It’s the only way you can get through to them, is to stand up here as a parent who experienced it and they’ll grasp it more,” he said.
Catronio has gotten 30 wrong-way signs placed around problem onramps in South Florida and beyond.
He has lobbied all the way to Tallahassee to make changes on the roads. In his presentation he shares statistics and there are demonstrations but more than he introduces his students to the others that he’s helped along the way and who are part of a club no one wants to be in.
“I got a life sentence,” said Mike Otto.
Otto lost his daughter Jennifer Otto, also 21, and also to a wrong-way drunk driver.
“Everyday I think about my daughter who’s not here with us, I’m never gonna have grandchildren, I’m never gonna walk her down the aisle, she’s gone because of somebody else’s stupidity,” he said.
“We have to try and stop this very dangerous wrong-way driving on the highway and we’re out and we’re just trying to save lives,” said Catronio.