Lowcountry families remember loved ones lost to drunk, impaired drivers

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Families every year lose loved ones to drunk and impaired drivers.

On Tuesday night, families in Berkeley County came together for the annual candle light vigil to honor those killed by drunk and drugged drivers to remember their loved ones, and encourage others not to make the same mistake that took their loved one.

The special memorial reminded those who will be out celebrating over the holidays to not drink and drive.

Every 51 minutes someone dies in a drunk driving crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Those accidents are happening just across the country, but also on our Lowcountry roads.

"She was in a bad accident with a drunk driver who hit her from behind," Wyteria Linder said. "She was at a stoplight, and before the light could turn green she was hit from behind."

Linder's sister Kimeyata was killed over the summer. Kimeyata was 25-years-old.

With the holidays closing in, her family is bracing for what's to come.

"It's hard, it's like starting all over because I've never been a holiday without her," Linder said.

Paula Schaefer lost her daughter almost nineteen years ago, she would have been 25 this year.

"As time passes you don't celebrate her as much with tears, you learn to celebrate her with smiles and that's a good thing," Schaefer said of her daughter Sarah. "There's still some tears shed. She was our baby, but we're going to celebrate her no matter what."

Schaefer said it's important to remember that the loved ones lost to impaired drivers were here, and they were people.

"The sad part is it's 100 percent preventable, doesn't have to happen," said Schaeffer.

Twenty-nine alcohol and impaired related driving fatalities happened every day in 2016, all across the country.

For a family that is left to pick up the pieces, they have a plea you should hear before getting behind the wheel when you shouldn't.

"If you're drinking and driving and you're to the point where you can't handle it, stay home," Linder said."Because there will be someone else who will feel our pain and you don't want to take a life especially an innocent person."

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