HOUSTON Two mothers with two different stories have one simple message for drunk drivers: Don t do it.
All over Valoree Lalime s house in northwest Harris County, you ll find pictures of her daughter Nicole.
One framed photo in particular seems to really capture the essence of her 13-year-old.
I feel like when I look at that picture, I m with her, said Lalime.
That same picture hangs in the prison cell of John Winne, the convicted drunk driver serving 30 years for killing Lalime s youngest daughter.
Having Nicole s picture in his cell is part of his punishment.
We wanted him to see who she was and who he took away from this earth with his poor decisions, said Lalime.
The 8th-grader had just stepped off the school bus on December 16, 2008, when she was hit.
For her parents, the pain hasn t gotten any easier.
She always came in and she always said goodnight, God bless you, I love you and sweet dreams, recalls Lalime. She always did it.
Nicole is part of a painful statistic. Per capita,Harris County has more drunk driving deaths than anywhere else in the country.
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers in Texas is trying to change that.
You can drink to your heart s content, just don t get in the car, said MADD s Carol Levin, who lost her son Todd to a drunk driver in September 2006.
For me, helping someone really helped me, said Levin.
Levin is now fighting to reintroduce legislation in Texas requiring first-time offenders to use an ignition interlock system. It comes with a breathalyzer that won t the driver start up if he or she blows over the limit.
In 14 other states it s been passed and the death rate has gone down 30 percent, Levin said.
Until there are tougher penalties for drunk driving offenders, both mothers will keep fighting for change.
They said if they can stop just one person from driving drunk, sharing their most painful experiences is worth it.
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