Mother hopes daughter's death keeps drunk drivers off the road New Year's Day

Mother hopes daughter's death keeps drunk drivers off the road New Year's Day

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - "One time she febreezed our dog because she said he was stinky," said Kelly DeHay.

That's just one of Kelly DeHay's favorite memories of her daughter Kasey.

DeHay chooses to look back on positive memories she has of Kasey, because the last memory of her daughter changed her life forever.

"A drunk driver that was going the opposite way," said DeHay. "He was .16 blood alcohol content, swerving all over the road. He went off the side of the road, overcompensated and was aimed straight toward our car. The first thing I heard when i came to, was my son saying, 'mommy, Kasey is dead.'"

Kasey was just 3 years old when she was killed October 20, 2007.

"She'd be 11 years old, starting middle school," said DeHay. "She would be in 6th grade."

Kelly DeHay suffered major injuries. In the crash, she got a concussion, dislocated her shoulder, broke several bones, had pieces of the vehicle embedded in her arm.

She's had several surgeries and plastic surgeries to fix her injuries.

To her, they're minor compared to the bigger loss.

"Any parent who has ever lost a child, the child is not far from their mind," said DeHay. "It's always right behind whatever you're thinking."

Now, she uses Kasey's story to send a message.

"I want people to think about Kasey before they get on the road, or before they turn the key," said DeHay.

Kasey's story is especially important to DeHay during New Year's, because it's one of the busiest times for drunk driving arrests.

"It's a heck of a lot cheaper to get home that night safely than it is to get a DUI or impact a family the way my family has been impacted."

Dehay has chosen to use her daughter's death toward positive action, hoping people know one decision could cause a lot of heartache.

"Sometimes in my dreams, I see her," said DeHay. "That's the best. I don't want to wake up."

Law enforcement in South Carolina will be heightened around New Year's. South Carolina High Patrol officials say check points will be set up around the state and there will be a heavy present of enforcement on the roads.

If you're caught driving drunk, alcohol content above .08, you could face serious consequences.

According to SCHP, a person caught driving impaired will spend the night in jail and face a fine between $995-$2,000 or 30 days in jail. That person's license could be suspended for 6 months- 1 year.

If a drunk driver kills someone, he/she will face up to 25 years in prison for each person he/she kills.

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