Mother speaks out against drunk driving

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POSTED: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 5:00pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 5:27pm

Lisa Allen fights back tears as she holds up a framed picture of a small family; a smiling young man and woman with their toddler.

"This is a picture of a happy little young family," Allen says. She points at the dark-haired man in the photo. "This is my son, Brandon, and his wife, Joanna, and their son, Brian, who I now have the privilege of raising."

On August 12, 2009, Lisa Allen's life changed forever.

"I really thought I was dreaming," she says.

Her son, Brandon, was driving his motorcycle in on Highway 1019 in Denham Springs. He had just signed the final paper work that would allow him to get his pilot's license.

"He never even got a chance to lay his eyes on it," Allen says.

At 3pm that day, a man named Jeremy Powell, slammed into Brandon's motorcycle. Brandon never saw his twenty-third birthday.

"It's like someone has cut you open, and you will never be the same again, never," Allen sobs. "You wish this day were not here."

Allen says Powell was intoxicated when the accident happened. His decision to get behind the wheel in that state rippled outward, impacting the lives of people he didn't even know.

"I have to visit my son in a graveyard," Allen says. "Jeremy Powell's mother has to visit him in jail."

Brandon and Joanna left behind a little boy, Brian. Allen takes care of him now. "He is a reminder that life goes on, and that I must go on."

That's why Allen ties red ribbons to the door handles of stranger's cars. It's part of a  holiday campaign created by Mothers Against Drunk Driving to keep drunk drivers off the road.

Since MADD began the campaign to eliminate drunk driving five years ago, the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities have dropped by 24% in Louisiana. MADD says that's clear that their efforts are working.

The state recently received a four-star rating out of five stars. That's compared to a three-star national average. MADD representatives say the good news is thanks to combined efforts of Louisiana lawmakers and law enforcement officials.

However, Allen says they can still do better.

"Intoxicated drivers on the road are a cancer," she says.

Now, she's doing everything she can to prevent others from knowing what its like to lose a child to drunk driving.

"If I can make one difference and save at least one life, then all of this is worth it," she says.

Learn more about MADD at http://www.madd.org/

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