Preventing tragedy at ‘Walk Like MADD’

Preventing+tragedy+at+%E2%80%98Walk+Like+MADD%E2%80%99

Preventing tragedy at ‘Walk Like MADD’

By Evelyn Garibay

 

Almost everywhere I drive there are signs with slogans like “drive sober or get pulled over” or “buzzed driving is drunk driving.” All of that advertising is aimed at preventing a serious problem in Texas – alcohol-related traffic accidents.

 

While everyone’s Saturday was filled with last-minute homecoming preparations, I attended the “‘Walk like MADD” event along with my mom to support her co-worker, Victor Mendoza. In December 2015, he endured the worst nightmare for a parent when he received news from the police that his son Daniel Mendoza had been killed in a car crash.

 

While I didn’t know personally know the people affected, my heart still broke for this father has he told the story of his son’s death. That night, Daniel and his boyfriend were driving on Hondo Pass in Northeast El Paso. His boyfriend, who was behind the wheel, was intoxicated and speeding at over 100 mph, according to a transcript of the 911 call placed by Daniel. No matter how much Daniel pleaded with his boyfriend to slow down and stop the car, he wouldn’t do it. Daniel’s last moments were recorded in the 911 call he made to police as he was begging his boyfriend to stop the car. In those moments, Mendoza was truly terrified for his life.

 

According to an El Paso Times article, his boyfriend, Jesus, crashed into a van and two food trucks along Hondo Pass and both of them were taken to University Medical Center. Daniel passed away hours after getting to the hospital. Unfortunately, he paid the full price, and his boyfriend was later charged with homicide, according to the El Paso Times.

 

The “Walk Like MADD” event took place at Yucca Park on Saturday morning and I have to say, it was truly eye opening. Throughout the park, many families were sharing their own stories about losing their loved ones to drunk driving and how they coped with it. Later on in the day, I learned the event also raises money for multiple foundations.

 

The Mendoza family also known as, “Team Skyres” (based on the name of a song that Mendoza’s son would constantly listen to), placed third and collected over $2,400 to end drunk driving.

 

As we walked the 5K around the park, I couldn’t help but feel connected to the families there. All around me were banners of loved ones and people wearing shirts or holding pictures to remember those that they lost.

 

After the walk, I visited the booth that the Mendoza family set up. There were two little dogs in a cage. I was a little confused at first, but then found out that the family brought the special pups to show off “Daniel’s babies,” as he used to call them. He had adopted both dogs while working as a veterinary technician.

 

All in all, it really made me open my eyes to this worldwide problem. Drunk driving affects all of us, not just the people who pass away or survive. Everyone at El Dorado remembers how tragic it was to lose one of our own Aztecs, Jonathan Honorato, to crash that happened under the influence.

 

I watched as a cameraman from a local station interview Daniel’s father about the event. He was fighting back tears through a trembling lip as he talked about his son. It made me think, “God, I would never want to be in that kind of position, I wouldn’t be able to handle it.”

 

I’m writing this, because I figure that none of you would either.

 

Find out how you can help at www.walklikemadd.org.