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Another Needless Tragedy
Maleeca Smith was studying physical therapy at the University of Texas in San Antonio. Two years earlier, the 20 year-old woman graduated third in her class at Eastside Memorial High School, where she was in the orchestra, a cheerleader, and a Girl Scout.
The promising college sophomore had come home to North Austin to visit her mom and sister LaTiya for the weekend of April 12. As Maleeca climbed into her car to head home, Measha said, “See you in a little bit. Be careful, I love you.” That night, Maleeca was tragically killed by a drunk driver.
Shawn Amende ran a red light and t-boned Meleeca’s 2005 Nissan Altima. He and his passenger were transported to the hospital, where an investigator observed his slurred speech, swaying, poor balance and the odor of alcohol. Amende admitted drinking two margaritas before climbing behind the wheel of his Camaro. The 26 year-old man has been charged with intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault, as his passenger also suffered fractured ribs and internal bleeding for which she underwent surgery.
Mother’s Message to Drunk Drivers
The heartbroken mother delivered this message to anybody considering driving drunk: “It’s stupid and not worth it,” and she gives sage advice to anyone who has had too much to drink, “We got cabs, we got buses, we got Lyft, Uber, got so many things that it just didn’t make sense.” Referring to drunk driver who killed her daughter, she said, “His family still has to suffer because of the mistake that he made, and it’s just not worth it.”
Higher Rate of Deadly Crashes in 2015 in Austin
Twice as many deadly car crashes have already occurred in Austin in 2015 This DWI crash is Austin’s 27th fatal traffic collision. There are usually 50 deaths during the whole year.
An Austin police official blamed most of these deaths on the usual suspects we see day after day: alcohol, distracted driving, and speeding. The increase in deaths comes despite Austin’s brand new law that took effect on January 1st that prevents a driver from using his cell phone when he is driving and a crackdown on drinking while driving.
What Does This Mean For Other Texas Cities?
What is going on in Austin? Is it a harbinger of things to come for other rapidly growing cities in Texas? We must crack down on these reckless and drunk drivers.