Mom shares pain of teen drunk driving

Daughter's death prompts mom to start a campaign to stop teen drinking and driving

EAST BETHEL, Minn. -- Prom and graduation season are the busiest time of year for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, as the group works to educate families about the dangers of teen alcohol consumption and what can happen afterwards.

One Anoka County mom is not a part of that group, but wanted to share her painful story in hopes of helping others.

"I went to just throw my phone at a tree, because it was just devastating," said Angela Nguyen, recalling the day a police officer showed up at her house to inform her that her daughter had been killed while driving drunk. "We had bought her a new car, and she promised she would never drink and drive."

Her daughter Rachel was out celebrating her 19th birthday at a friend's house. She was less than two miles from home when she rolled her car and was killed on impact.

"You keep thinking it's a mistake," said Angela. "It's gotta be a mistake. She'll come back home. It couldn't be her."

It's a tragedy that led Angela to start a campaign called "Rachels reminder!! Never drink and drive" in hopes of saving other parents the pain of losing a child.

She says prom is an especially risky time.

"I know many of them are going to be drinking," said Angela. "I'd like to discourage against it, but they're going to do it anyways."

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the single largest cause of death when it comes to teen drinking is car crashes. MADD experts say parents should keep an ongoing conversation with their teens about their expectations and the consequences involved, and to let their teens know they can call them if they need to.

"Parents potentially can be a  teenager's greatest ally in this, and so we just want to make sure teens aren't afraid to ask for help," said Anna Kirchner with MADD.

It's the same parenting message Angela carries as she looks to Mother's Day, hoping no other moms have spend that day without their child.

MADD will host mock crashes in Edina and Woodbury this month, using cars damaged in drunk driving crashes to illustrate the potential consequences of drinking and driving.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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