COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and with the warmer months often come more celebrations and get-togethers.
Those celebrations can often include alcohol, and Bob Kent wants to remind people drinking and driving do not mix.
“I just try to share with them if you’re going to be drinking, don’t get behind the wheel of a car and make a plan ahead of time,” he said. “Because if you wait until you’ve had a few drinks, the alcohol will make the decision for you; it’ll be 100% wrong.”
Kent spends time speaking to students and those who’ve been convicted of OVI about the dangers of drinking and driving. He’s been doing that since his son, Brandon, was killed by a drunk driver in December 2004.
“It’s been 19 years, it’s still tough, we get through it, take each day at a time, and remember the good times,” Kent said.
Brandon was a 21-year-old student at Columbus State and wanted to be a paramedic. He was on Interstate 71 when he was hit head-on by a drunk driver. Two of his friends in the car with him, Lucas Carmean and Josh Worthington, also died.
“A lot of people come up to me and say, ‘How can you keep talking about it’ and I said, ‘You know what? It actually helps me,’ because if it’s just one person in the room that connects with what I’m saying, could save a life,” Kent said.
While the summer tends to have more celebrations, driving sober is important all year.
“It’s a beautiful time of the year, you need to enjoy it, relax, have a great time with your family and friends, just be aware,” Kent said. “Just say, ‘You know what? If I’m going to partake in drinking alcohol, I’ve got to have a plan ahead of time,’” Kent said.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol shared a similar message.
“It’s not worth putting your life at risk or someone else’s to partake in an alcoholic beverage or to partake in drug use and try to drive a vehicle,” Lt. Nathan Dennis said. “You’re putting yourself in danger, you’re putting other people in danger.”