JMH partners with MADD, FHP to encourage drivers not to drink and drive

Doctor says alcohol, drug-related injuries top holiday ER visits

MIAMI – Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center is partnering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Florida Highway Patrol to encourage people to avoid the emergency room by driving sober during the holiday season.

Just talking about her sister who was killed by a drunk driver brings tears to Jackie Gonzalez's eyes.

"Don't let my story be your story," she said.

Gonzalez's sister, Caroline Agreda, 17, and her friend, Anapaula Saldana, were killed in 2014 after they were involved in a fender bender.

Eduardo Hernandez, 45, who was driving by, stopped to help the girls. 

But a drunk driver later hit and kill all three of them as they stood on the side of the road.

"Let's stop them. Once there's drinking, there's no more thinking," Helen Marie Witty, of MADD, said.  

Witty said it's been 16 years since her daughter was killed by a drunk driver.

She now works with MADD as a victim's advocate.

"New Years is the most dangerous day of the year for DUI fatalities," she said. "This holiday should be about joy and not sadness."

"If it weren't for alcohol and drugs, we could almost shut down the trauma center," Dr. Nicholas Namias added.

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Sanchez said there will be additional troopers on the roads during the holidays to catch any impaired drivers.

"If you drink, don't drive," he said.


About the Author:

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.