When someone you love is killed by a drunk driver, all you have left are memories.
Your future can be reduced to despair or it can be propelled into advocacy that helps save the lives of others.
I watched the latter played out in the lives of the Rooney family in Ohio. A drunk driver killed 36-year-old Annie Rooney, an advocate and attorney, July 4th, 2013. Annie, an avid mountain biker who was looking for a sponsor to continue excelling at the sport, was driving home after picking up a bike at a friend’s house. The offender was going 100 miles per hour, resulting in several people calling into the police to report her erratic driving. An off-duty officer also pursued her because he witnessed her driving at dusk with no lights on through a school zone. READ MORE ABOUT ANNIE.
The driver was more than twice the legal limit and had been previously arrested for drunk driving three times.
In the midst of their mourning, Annie’s family began a mission… to have the state of Ohio improve the ignition interlock for all drunk drivers. Throughout the process of developing the law, the Rooney’s never missed a hearing. Annie, who had worked diligently as a prosecuting attorney on domestic violence and DUI cases, deserved a law in her name… Annie’s law.
For a while, it looked like the clock would expire for Annie’s Law. Her family, including MADD National Boardmember Walt Rooney, went on Facebook Live with a plea. We rallied support and conducted a full-court press.
Finally, on December 6th, the bill was passed. It was unanimous. I had the privilege of being there at the State Capitol in Columbus, Ohio as the vote came in and watch the tears flow down the faces of the family.
Annie would live on in this law, “Annie’s Law”. And over the years, while the pain and suffering will continue for the family, the state of Ohio will reap the benefits of their dedication.
Lives will be saved thanks to them. And someday, all of us will be able to live in a world with NO MORE VICTIMS®.